Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's heartening!

This evening one was witness to heated discussions, during prime time, on news channels about the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 that many of us would like to give a quiet burial. One never expected it to happen so soon - I suppose, the run up to an election has its advantages! But wait a minute, it was not brought about by the government changing its long standing view of 'classified material whose declassification meant a serious threat to the national security' to tell all to the public but was triggered off by the release of parts of the report, online, by the Australian journalist Neville Maxwell.

There's nothing new in the report from what is common knowledge of the worst debacle, the gist of which are:-

  (a) the 'Forward Policy' of the then Prime Minister, Nehru according to which disputed territory along
       the boundary was treated to be as our's from where the Chinese troops had to be 'thrown out'.
  (b) the woefully unprepared operational state of the armed forces in terms of men, material and logistics.
  (c) the curious reluctance to operate the Air Force even, in support of the Army let alone offensive
  (d) a dictatorial defence minister in the form of the egotist, VK Krishna Menon and who'd the PM's ear.
  (e) spineless senior officers of the armed forces who accepted whatever their political masters wanted them
       to do despite the knowledge of the actual ground realities.
  (f) a lack of professional agency to gather, collate, interpret and disseminate intelligence.
  (g) in fact, it was a failure on all fronts!

The report was authored by Lt General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier PS Bhagat and is commonly referred to as the "Henderson Brooks Report".

It'd be in order that the report be declassified at the earliest so that valuable lessons can be learnt to correct the existing preparedness of the defence forces that has come into focus with the series of mishaps in the Indian Navy culminating in the resignation of the Chief of the Naval Staff.


What makes me infinitely sad is that while the politicians and the professionals would be hauled on coals, the biggest culprits - the bureaucrats, who've equal responsibility if not more for all their advice to the politicians overriding professional inputs - will go absolutely scot free!    

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