Army officer corps was split during Sino-Indian war, says former army chief

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by BangersAndMash, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. BangersAndMash

    BangersAndMash Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    539
    Location:
    England
    New Delhi, Sep 6: A total lack of strategic sense among the political leadership in New Delhi was the root cause of the bruising 1962 Sino-Indian war, experts said at a round table here Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of a conflict whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day.

    "There was a total lack of strategic sense at the political level. The first mistake was at Bandung (the 1955 Asian-African conference) when India recognised Tibet as a part of China," former Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Sharma said at the round table "50 years after 1962: India-China Relations.

    "Once that happened, it followed that the borders as they existed would have to be relooked," Sharma said at the event jointly organised by the India Internaional Centre, the Society for Policy Studies (SPS) and the Subbu Forum.

    "In any case, India's borders were given to us by the British which was never accepted by China," he added.

    Indicative of the lack of strategic thinking, Sharma said, was the fact that repeated reports from the army's long-range patrols of Chinese incursions,particularly in the Aksai Chin area, were ignored by prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

    He also faulted Nehru for not considering Aksai Chin to be of strategic importance because "not a single blade of grass grew there" as the prime minister had famously stated in parliament, attracting the ire of the opposition.

    "If no grass grows in your backyard is it still not your own?" Sharma asked.

    Adding to the army's woes was the almost vertical split in the officer corps over loyalty to defence minister V.K. Krishna Menon.

    "The officer corps was split, from the colonels to the generals, into the pro and agnostic camps. If you were pro Krishna Menon you were promoted; if you were agnostic, you were ignored. As junior officers, we wondered what to do with the political hierarchy," Sharma revealed.


    Sharma, in fact, echoed the previous speaker, Air Commodore (retd) Jasjit Singh, who pointed to the "failure" of the higher defence organisation in the decade leading up to the 1962 war, a situation that still prevailed.

    "The higher defence organisation failed from 1954 to 1962, a situation that has still not been repaired adequately. Worse, during the war, the chiefs of staff committee did not meet even once.

    The decisions were taken by the minister and a joint secretary in the defence ministry."Thus, it is not Nehru alone but the defence minister who was more responsible" for the debacle, Jasjit Singh, who heads the Centre for Air Power Studies, contended.

    Speaking about the lack of air support for the ground operations during the war, he said army headquarters never asked for this as it feared that if the Chinese fighters also went into action, this would disrupt the logistic support that was being provided by the Indian Air Force's transport planes and helicopters.

    Then, the "politcal leaders of Bengal put pressure on Nehru not to use the air force (fighters) as they feared Calcutta would be bombed and their memories of World War II (when the city was sporadically bombed 1942-44 by the Japanese) were still fresh," Jasjit Singh said.

    According to veteran journalist and commentator George Verghese, who reported on the 1962 war for The Times of India, the genesis of the conflict lay in the "mistaken belief that an unprepared Indian Army could take on China.

    A year before, the Indian Army had overcome Portuguese resistance to free the western India state of Goa from colonial rule and this led to complacency that this could be replicated with the Chinese, Verghese said.

    "Politics determined the military disaster. India never learnt the lesson that borders are more important than boundaries," he added.

    The round table was the first in a series of four that will review the 1962 conflict from different perspectives.

    Army officer corps was split during Sino-Indian war, says former army chief
     
    Kunal Biswas, Singh and W.G.Ewald like this.
  2.  
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    What aircraft did the Chinese have and from which airfield were they to be launched.

    If from Tibet, what would be the payload?

    I would be real surprised if the Air Force Air Marshalls were so dumb and to not realise that it was not feasible to bomb Calcutta and return to the airbases in Tibet/ China.

    I would sure like to be corrected on the launching airbases, type of aircraft and its range (to fly in and return without even a dogfight), the payload (All UP Weight) that could be lifted from HA airfields in Tibet.

    All excuses to show that the political leadership worked under great constraints.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    No wonder then that in 2005 there are opinions that we could have taken on the Chinese land forces in 1962 because the PLAAF could not operate from Tibet. No one states how we would have actually executed the operations in North Ladakh at altitudes of 25,000 feet with Mysteres & Hunters.

    close Air Support in 1962 - Gp Capt Anant Bewoor (www.bharat-rakshak.com)

    In his book, Gen Palit says that the Directorate of Military Operations had, as early as May 02, 1962, recommended the use of offensive
    air power to redress the adverse force ratio in Ladakh. 1 Offensive air action was considered feasible in both NEFA and Ladakh.

    The Army headquarters put forward the view that there was little reason to fear strategic bombing, since there was no intelligence of bomber bases in
    Tibet. 2 Fighting, if any, was not likely to spread beyond border areas. Indian air defences were capable of countering strategic bombing by the Chinese.
    The Chinese were assessed as only capable of occasional raids, with no serious effect on the border war. However, the issue was not broached with the Defence Minister, since tension had subsided by then. Palit feels that a more deliberate examination of the proposal would have resulted in a more reasoned response.

    B. N. Mullick was the Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 1950 to 1964. He claims that accurate intelligence assessments of Chinese intentions
    were passed on to Service headquarters as early as June 1962. 5

    Information was also received of Pakistani plans to attack India simultaneously from the West, in coordination with the Chinese. 6

    Despite the withdrawal of support after the rift with the USSR, the IB felt that the PLAAF would be capable of undertaking missions at night as far as up to Madras, without interference, due to our lack of night interceptors. 7 Interesting all the way to Madras. With MIGs?

    Operations against Indian forces could also be undertaken from Chinese airfields in Tibet, Yunnan and even Sinkiang. The IB inputs indicated that the PLAAF already had MiG-21s supplied by the USSR before the rupture. They also had night interception-capable MiG-19s as well as MiG-17s. It was felt that this would make it difficult for our Canberras to operate.

    The PLAAF had expanded rapidly in the early 1950s, with Soviet assistance. In the mid-1950s, American assessments ranked the PLAAF as the fourth
    most powerful Air Force in the world. 8 According to the official Indian history of the war published by the MoD in 1992, the PLAAF was estimated to have
    about 1,500 frontline fighters of the MiG-15, MiG-17 and MiG-19 class (refer Table-1). 9

    The PLAAF had only six airfields in Tibet. The mainland airfields were too far away to be effective. Because of the elevation, aircraft operating
    from Tibet would be able to carry less weapon and fuel loads. As a result, PLAAF capability to bomb Indian airfields would be extremely limited. The
    PLAAF would also find it difficult to sustain operations from these airfields, which still lacked adequate facilities.


    http://www.idsa.in/system/files/strategicanalysis_sukumaran_0903.pdf

    May read this from the IDSA.

    It is interesting!
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  5. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,434
    Likes Received:
    1,719
    Location:
    Land of the GODS - "Dev Bhomi".
    Ray Sir,

    Who was former Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Sharma?

    Should it be General V. N. Sharma?

    @ topic: Article does give us a sense of how early the Armed forced were politicized. With time our political leadership has only got sleeker in their act, and with the advent of free media, they have only been able to manipulate things a lot better.
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    It should be VN Sharma, of RIMC and an Armoured Corps Officer.

    He was known as 'Tich' Sharma because he was very short!
     
  7. SADAKHUSH

    SADAKHUSH Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,802
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    Winterland
    Can some one with a knowledge about capabilities of PLAAF throw some light whether or not opinion by former DG of IB has any validity? In my opinion once our nation comes under attack the politician should be kept at bay and only given summary of day to day gains or loss.
     
  8. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    340
    what will be our states do if the center govt want to use them against china

    do center need any permission of states in war time ??
     
  9. SADAKHUSH

    SADAKHUSH Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,802
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    Winterland
    When war is imposed on a nation and not individual states than there is no need for permission of states.
     
  10. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,623
    Likes Received:
    28,459
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
    IAF Canberras facing and preformed better against PAF Air-defense consist of F-104 & F-86, And here they feel otherwise..

    Mountain valley were perfect for sneak up operations in those days, Also if there was Air-power PLA would never resupplied or send reinforcements..

    Either this was a dumb decision or a intentionally done to harm the nation..

    They have now 6-7 airfields to conduct operations not those days, there must have been lesser..
     

Share This Page