1962 India China War


Regular Member
Oct 27, 2009

Red China behaved in so inscrutably Oriental a manner last week that even Asians were baffled. After a series of smashing victories in the border war with India. Chinese troops swept down from the towering Himalayas and were poised at the edge of the fertile plains of Assam, whose jute and tea plantations account for one-fourth of India's export trade. Then, with Assam lying defenseless before her conquering army. Red China suddenly called a halt to the fighting.

Radio Peking announced that, "on its own initiative." Red China was ordering a cease-fire on all fronts. Further, by Dec. 1, Chinese troops would retire to positions 12½ miles behind the lines they occupied on Nov. 7. 1959. If this promise is actually carried out. it would mean, for some Chinese units, a pullback of more than 60 miles. These decisions. Peking continued, "represent a most sincere effort" to achieve "a speedy termination of the Sino-Indian conflict, a reopening of peaceful negotiations, and a peaceful settlement of the boundary question." War or peace, the message concluded, "depends on whether or not the Indian government responds positively."

In New Delhi the government of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was taken completely by surprise. An Indian spokesman first denounced the Chinese offer as a "diabolical maneuver." which was later amended to the comment that India would "wait and see" exactly what the Chinese were proposing. A communique confirmed that, after the cease-fire deadline, there "had been no report of firing by the Chinese aggressors." Indian troops also stopped shooting, but Nehru warned India: "We must not imagine that the struggle will soon be over."

On closer examination, the Chinese cease-fire proved to be a lot less mysterious. It did offer India's battered armies a badly needed respite. But it left the Chinese armies in position to resume their offensive if Nehru refuses the Peking terms. And it puts on India the onus of continuing the war. Said the Hindustan Times: "The latest Chinese proposals are not a peace offer but an ultimatum."

Whatever the results of this peace bid tendered on a bayonet, India will never be the same again, nor will Nehru.

Barren Rock

In New Delhi illusions are dying fast. Gone is the belief that Chinese expansionism need not be taken seriously, that, in Nehru's words, China could not really want to wage a major war for "barren rock." Going too, is the conviction that the Soviet Union has either the authority or the will to restrain the Chinese Communists. Nehru's policy of nonalignment, which was intended to free India from any concern with the cold war between the West and Communism, was ending in disaster. Nearly shattered was the morally arrogant pose from which he had endlessly lectured the West on the need for peaceful coexistence with Communism. Above all. the Indian people, fiercely proud of their nationhood, have been deeply humiliated and shaken by the hated Chinese.

India, which is equally capable of philosophic calm and hysterical violence, showed, in the words of President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. a "great soul-awakening such as it has never had in all its history." The awakening took some curious forms. The Buddhist nuns and monks of Ladakh devoted themselves to writing an "immortal epic" of India's fight against Chinese aggression. A temple in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh converted its 85-lb. gold treasury into 15-year defense bonds, while New Delhi bank clerks shined shoes outside a restaurant after hours and gave their earnings to the government, men jammed the enlistment centers and showered Nehru with pledges to fight signed in blood.

The 73-year-old Nehru gave the impression of being swept along by this tumult, not of leading it. His agony was apparent as he rose in Parliament, three days before the Chinese cease-fire announcement, to report that the Indian army had been decisively defeated at Se Pass and Walong. The news raised a storm among the M.P.s. A Deputy from the threatened Assam state was on his feet, shaking with indignation and demanding, "What is the government going to do? Why can't you tell us? Are we going to get both men and materials from friendly countries to fight a total war, or is the government contemplating a cease-fire and negotiations with the Chinese?" Other gesturing Deputies joined in, shouting their questions in English and Hindi. "Are we nothing?" cried one Praja Socialist member. "Is the Prime Minister everything?"

While the Speaker asked repeatedly for order, Nehru sat chin in hand, obviously scornful of this display of Indian excitability, his abstracted gaze fixed on nothing. Finally Nehru rose again and tried to quiet the uproar by saying, "We shall take every conceivable and possible measure to meet the crisis. We are trying to get all possible help from friendly countries."

Attic Burglar

His critics accused him of still clinging to the language of nonalignment. Later, in a radio speech in which he announced the fall of Bomdi La,

Nehru sounded tougher. He no longer defended his old policies, denounced China as "an imperialist of the worst kind," and at last thanked the U.S. and Britain by name for arms aid, pledging to ask for more.

Nehru was coming close to admitting that he had at last discovered who were India's friends. The neutral nations, which so often looked to India for leadership in the past, were mostly embarrassingly silent or unsympathetic—a government-controlled newspaper in Ghana dismissed the war as "an ordinary border dispute." As for Russia, its ambiguously neutral position, argued Nehru, was the best India could hope for under the circumstances. Actually, Nehru had obviously hoped for more, and was shocked when, instead of helping India, Moscow denounced India's border claims and urged Nehru to accept the Red Chinese terms.

As India's poorly equipped army reeled under the Chinese blows, the West moved swiftly and without recrimination to India's defense. Shortly after the Chinese attack, frantic Indian officers simply drove round to the U.S. embassy with their pleas for arms and supplies. Eventually their requests were coordinated. During the tense week of the Cuban crisis, U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth Galbraith was virtually on his own, and he promised Nehru full U.S. backing.

When Washington finally turned its attention to India, it honored the ambassador's pledge, loaded 60 U.S. planes with $5,000,000 worth of automatic weapons, heavy mortars and land mines. Twelve huge C-130 Hercules transports, complete with U.S. crews and maintenance teams, took off for New Delhi to fly Indian troops and equipment to the battle zone. Britain weighed in with Bren and Sten guns, and airlifted 150 tons of arms to India. Canada prepared to ship six transport planes. Australia opened Indian credits for $1,800,000 worth of munitions.

Assistant Secretary of State Phillips Talbot graphically defined the U.S. mission. "We are not seeking a new ally," he said. "We are helping a friend whose attic has been entered by a burglar." In Washington's opinion, it mattered little that the burglar gratuitously offered to move back from the stairs leading to the lower floors and promised not to shoot any more of the house's inhabitants. "What we want," said Talbot, "is to help get the burglar out."

To that end, a U.S. mission headed by Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Averell Harriman and U.S. Army General Paul D. Adams flew to New Delhi to confer with Indian officials on defense requirements. Soon after, Britain's Commonwealth Secretary Duncan Sandys arrived with a similar British mission. Their most stunning discovery: after five years under Nehru's hand-picked Defense Minister, Krishna Menon, the Indian army was lamentably short of ammunition even for its antiquated Lee Enfield rifles.

Misbehaving People

So far, the fighting has shown that the Indians need nearly everything, except courage. Chinese burp guns fire 20 times faster than Indian rifles. The Indian 25-pounder is a good artillery piece, but is almost immobile in the mountains and cannot match the Chinese pack artillery, recoilless guns and bazookas. Each Chinese battalion has a special company of porters whose job it is to make sure the fighting men have ample ammunition and food. The Indians must rely on units from their unwieldy Army Service Corps, who were never trained to operate at heights of 14,000 feet and over mule paths. In addition to bulldozers and four-wheel-drive trucks, the Indians need mechanical saws that can match the speed of those the Chinese use to cut roads through forests.

India's catastrophic unreadiness for war stems directly from the policy of nonalignment which was devised by Nehru and implemented by his close confidant Krishna Menon. Says one Indian editor: "Nonalignment is no ideology. It is an idiosyncrasy."

Indians like to say that it resembles the isolationism formerly practiced by the U.S.. but it has moral overtones which, Nehru claims, grow out of "Indian culture and our philosophic outlook." Actually, it owes as much to Nehru's rather oldfashioned, stereotyped, left-wing attitudes acquired during the '20s and '30s ("He still remembers all those New Statesmen leaders." says one bitter critic) as it does to Gandhian notions of nonviolence. Nehru has never been able to rid himself of the disastrous cliche that holds Communism to be somehow progressive and less of a threat to emergent nations than "imperialism."

Nehru himself has said: "Nonalignment essentially means live and let live—but of course this doesn't include people who misbehave." During its 15 years of independence. India has dealt severely with the misbehavior of several smaller neighbors, but has been almost slavishly tolerant of Communist misbehavior.

The Communist Chinese invasion of Korea was "aggression." but the West was also "not blameless"; the crushing of the Hungarian rebellion was unfortunate, but all the facts were not clear; when the Soviet Union broke the nuclear test moratorium last year, Nehru deplored "all nuclear tests."

Like a Buddha

Yet in its way, nonalignment paid enormous dividends. India received massive aid from both Russia and the West. Getting on India's good side became almost the most important thing in the United Nations. At intervals, the rest of the world's statesmen came to India to pay obeisance to Nehru as though to a Buddha. And Nehru obviously believed that whatever he did. in case of real need the U.S. would have to help India anyway. Meanwhile, as he saw it. the object of his foreign policy was to prevent the two great Asian powers —Russia and China—from combining against India. In his effort to woo both, acerbic Krishna Menon, says one Western diplomat, "was worth the weight of four or five ordinary men. He was so obnoxious to the West that, almost alone, he could demonstrate the sincerity of India's neutrality to the Russians."

At the 1955 Bandung conference. Nehru and China's Premier Chou En-lai embraced Panch Shila, a five-point formula for peaceful coexistence. The same Indian crowds that now shout. "Wipe out Chink stink!" then roared "Hindi Chini bhai bhai" (Indians and Chinese are brothers). India refused to sign the peace treaty with Japan because Red China was not a party to it. At home, Menon harped on the theme that Pakistan was India's only enemy. Three years ago, when Pakistan proposed a joint defense pact with India, Nehru ingenuously asked, "Joint defense against whom?" Western warnings about China's ultimate intentions were brushed aside as obvious attempts to stir up trouble between peace-loving friends.

Even the Chinese conquest of Tibet in 1951 had rung no alarm bells in New Delhi—and therein lie the real beginnings of the present war.

Initialed Map

Under the British raj, London played what Lord Curzon called "the great game." Its object was to protect India's northern borders from Russia by fostering semi-independent buffer states like Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. In those palmy colonial days, Tibet was militarily insignificant, and China, which claims overlordship of Tibet, was usually too weak to exercise it.

When the Chinese Republic of Sun Yat-sen was born in 1912, Britain decided to look to its borders. At a three-nation meeting in Simla in 1914, Britain's representative. Sir Arthur McMahon, determined the eastern portion of the border by drawing a line on a map along the Himalayan peaks from Bhutan to Burma. The Tibetan and Chinese delegates initialed this map, but the newborn Chinese Republic refused to ratify it, and so has every Chinese government since.

The McMahon Line was never surveyed or delimited on the ground, and British troops seldom penetrated the NEFA hill country, where such tribes as the Apatanis. the Tagins and the Hill Miris amused themselves by slave-raiding and headhunting. As recently as 1953. the Daflas wiped out a detachment of the Assam Rifles just for the fun of it.

At the western end of the border, in Ladakh. the British made even less of an effort at marking the frontier, and the border with Tibet has generally been classified as "undefined." Red China was most interested in Ladakh's northeastern corner, where lies the Aksai Chin plateau, empty of nearly everything but rocks, sky and silence. For centuries, a caravan route wound through the Aksai Chin (one reason the Chinese say the plateau is theirs is that Aksai Chin means "China's Desert of White Stone"), leading from Tibet around the hump of the lofty Kunlun range to the Chinese province of Sinkiang. In 1956 and 1957 the Chinese built a paved road over the caravan trail, and so lightly did Indian border police patrol the area that New Delhi did not learn about the road until two years after it was built.

Time Immemorial

Firing off a belated protest to Peking, India rushed troops into the endangered area, where they at once collided with Chinese outposts. Attempts at negotiation broke down because India demanded that the Chinese first withdraw to Tibet, while the Chinese insisted that Aksai Chin, and much more besides in NEFA and Ladakh. was historically Chinese territory. Neither side has basically changed its position since.

On Oct. 25, strong Chinese patrols began penetrating the NEFA border, occupying Longju and Towang and threatening Walong. For once, Nehru was badly shaken. He said: "From time immemorial the Himalayas have provided us with a magnificent frontier. We cannot allow that barrier to be penetrated because it is also the principal barrier to India." But the barrier was being daily penetrated. Ten months ago, Nehru appointed Lieut. General Brij Kaul, 50, to command the NEFA area. Then, without consulting any of his military men, Nehru publicly ordered Kaul to drive out the Chinese invaders of NEFA.

The opposing armies were of unequal size, skill and equipment. The Chinese force of some 110,000 men was commanded by General Chang Kuo-hua, 54, a short, burly veteran of the Communist Party and Communist wars, who well understands Mao Tse-tung's dictum, "All political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." His army is made up of three-year conscripts from central China, but its officers and noncoms are largely proven cadres who served with distinction in the Korean war. The infantry is armed with a Chinese-made burp gun with not very great accuracy but good fire power, hand grenades, submachine guns and rifles. The light and heavy mortars, which have a surprising range, are also Chinese made, but the heavy artillery, tanks and planes are mostly of Soviet manufacture.

The Indian forces number some 500,000, but fewer than 100,000 men were committed to the Red border area—the bulk of the army, and many of its best units, being kept on guard duty in Kashmir watching the Pakistanis. A strictly volunteer army, with the men serving five-year terms, it drew its troops largely from the warrior races of the north—Jats, Sikhs, Gurkhas, Dogras, Garhwalis. Over the past century, the Indian army has fought from France to China, and has usually fought excellently, whether pitted against Pathan guerrillas, Nazi panzer grenadiers or Japanese suicide squads. In the 1947-48 war in Kashmir, the Indians were fighting a British-trained Pakistani army very like themselves. Since independence, the Indian army has not encountered a really first-rate foe. The guerrilla war with the rebellious Naga tribesmen of Eastern Assam and the walkover in Goa were little more than training exercises.

Infinite Testiness

For the past five years, the Indian army has also been plagued by Defense Minister Krishna Menon, who was both economy-minded and socialistically determined to supply the troops from state-run arsenals, most of which exist only as blueprints. Sharing Nehru's distrust of what he calls the "arms racket," Menon was reluctant to buy weapons abroad, and refused to let private Indian firms bid on defense contracts. Menon's boasts of Indian creativity in arms development have been revealed as shoddy deceptions. A prototype of an Indian jet fighter plane proved unable to break the sound barrier. Even the MIG-21 planes that the Soviet Union has promised to deliver in December are of questionable value, since jet fighters are useless without an intricate ground-support system, which India is in no position to set up.

A man of infinite testiness, Menon was soon squabbling with independent-minded generals. Lieut. General Shankar Thorat and Commander in Chief General K. S. Thimayya appealed to Nehru against Menon's promotion policies. When Nehru, who has long scorned the British-trained officers as men who "did not understand India," refused to listen to complaints about Menon, both generals retired from the army in disgust. Menon named as new commander in chief P. N. Thapar, a "paperwork general."

Skyward Zigzag

Before Kaul had a chance to try and "clear out" the Chinese in NEFA, the Chinese struck first on Oct. 20. Some 20,000 burp-gun-toting infantry stormed over Thag La ridge and swept away a 5,000-man Indian brigade strung out along the Kechilang River. The surprise was complete, and dazed survivors of the Chinese attack struggled over the pathless mountains, where hundreds died of exposure. In Ladakh the Chinese scored an even bigger victory, occupying the entire 14,000 square miles that Peking claims is Chinese territory.

While the Indians worked to build up a new defense line at Walong and in the lofty Se Pass, reinforcements were hurried to Assam. The effort to bring up men and supplies from the plains was backbreaking. TIME Correspondent Edward Behr made the trip over a Jeep path that was like a roller coaster 70 miles long and nearly three miles high. He reports: "The Jeep path begins at Tezpur, amid groves of banana and banyan trees, then climbs steeply upward through forests of oak and pine to a 10,000-ft. summit. Here the path plunges dizzily downward to the supply base of Bomdi La on a 5,000-ft. plateau, and then zigzags skyward again to the mist-hung Se Pass at 13,556 ft. Above the hairpin turns of the road rise sheer rock walls; below lie bottomless chasms. Rain and snow come without warning, turning the path to slippery mud. Even under the best conditions, a Jeep takes 18 hours to cover the 70 miles.

"At this height, icy winds sweep down from the snow crests of the Himalayas, and if a man makes the slightest exertion, his lungs feel as if they are bursting. Newcomers suffer from the nausea and lightheadedness of mountain sickness. Every item of supply, except water, must be brought up the roller coaster from the plains. There are few bits of earth flat enough for an airstrip, and helicopters have trouble navigating in the thin air."

Shell Plaster

After three weeks, Kaul felt emboldened to make a probing attack on the Chinese lines. Following an artillery barrage, 1,000 Indian jawans (G.I.s) drove the Chinese from the lower slopes of a hill near Walong. It was a costly victory, for the Chinese launched a massive counterattack through and around Walong, driving the Indians 80 miles down the Luhit valley. At Se Pass, the Chinese victory was even more spectacular. Having spotted the Indian gun emplacements, the Chinese plastered them with mortar and artillery shells, and then sent forward a Korea-style "human sea" assault. Two Chinese flanking columns of several thousand men each moved undetected and with bewildering speed through deep gorges and over 14,000-ft. mountains around the pass to capture the Indian supply base at Bomdi La, trapping an Indian division and throwing India's defense plans into chaos.

Panic spread from the mountains into the plains. Officials in Tezpur burned their files, and bank managers even set fire to stacks of banknotes. Five hundred prisoners were set free from Tezpur jail. Refugees jammed aboard ferry boats to get across the Brahmaputra River. Even policemen joined the flight.

Indian army headquarters was hastily moved from Tezpur to Gauhati, 100 miles to the southwest. Officers and men who had escaped from the fighting referred dazedly to the Chinese as swarming everywhere "like red ants." An Indian colonel admitted, "We just haven't been taught this kind of warfare."

Needed Intellect

Though India—like the U.S. after Pearl Harbor—could not yet afford scapegoats and recrimination, Defense Minister Krishna Menon was almost universally blamed for the inadequacy of Indian arms, the lack of equipment and even winter clothing. His fall from grace not only finished his own career but brought a turning point in Nehru's. The Prime Minister had tried to pacify critics by taking over the Defense Ministry and downgrading Menon to Minister of Defense Production, but Nehru's own supporters demanded Menon's complete dismissal.

On Nov. 7, Nehru attended an all-day meeting of the Executive Committee of the parliamentary Congress Party and made a final plea for Menon, whose intellect, he said, was needed in the crisis.

As a participant recalls it, ten clenched fists banged down on the table, a chorus of voices shouted, "No!"

Nehru was dumfounded. It was he who was used to banging tables and making peremptory refusals. Taking a different tack, he accurately said that he was as much at fault as Menon and vaguely threatened to resign. Always before, such a threat had been sufficient to make the opposition crumble with piteous cries of 'Panditji, don't leave us alone!" This time, one of the leaders said: "If you continue to follow Menon's policies, we are prepared to contemplate that possibility." Nehru was beaten and Menon thrown out of the Cabinet. Joining him in his exit was Menon's appointee, Commander in Chief General P. N. Thapar, who resigned because of "poor health." (This P.N. Thapar is the father of arch-secularist Karan Thapar.)

The Defense Department at once, but belatedly, got a new look and a firmer tone. Impatient of turgid oratory and military fumbling, all India turned with relief to the new Defense Minister, Y. B. Chavan. A big man in every sense of the word—including his burly 200 lbs.—Chavan served for six years as Chief Minister of Bombay, the richest and most industrialized Indian state. The army's new commander in chief, Lieut. General J. N. Chaudhuri, the "Victor of Goa," who also saw action in World War II campaigns in the Middle East and Burma, is a close friend of Chavan's.

Though a socialist and a onetime disciple of Nehru, Chavan is cast in a different mold. Once a terrorist against the British and a proud member of the Kshatriya warrior caste, Chavan says: "There can be no negotiations with an aggressor." Unlike Nehru, who still maintains that China's attack is not necessarily connected with Communism, Chavan declared: "The first casualties of the unashamed aggression of the Chinese on India are Marxism and Leninism."

Old Twinkle

There has been some grumbling that Nehru is no wartime leader. At 73, he often seems physically and mentally spent. His hair is snow-white and thinning, his skin greyish and his gaze abstracted. Since the invasion, he has not spared himself, and his sister, Mme. Pandit, thinks Nehru is "fighting fit-he's got that old twinkle in his eye." But he tires noticeably as the day goes on. One old friend says, "It makes a big difference whether you see him in the morning or the evening."

No one seriously suggests that Nehru will be replaced as India's leader while he lives. To his country, he is not a statesman but an idol. Each morning, large crowds assemble on the lawn outside his New Delhi home. Some present petitions or beg favors, but thousands, in recent weeks, have handed over money or gold dust for the national defense. Most come just to achieve darshan, communion, with the country's leader. The throng is comforted and reassured, not by the words, but by the presence of Nehru.

His widowed daughter, Indira Gandhi, 45, who is functioning as his assistant and has sometimes been mentioned as his favorite choice to succeed him, is still essentially right when she says: "Unity can only be formed in India behind the Congress Party, and in the Congress Party only behind my father."

Nevertheless, Nehru's power will be circumscribed from now on. His long years of unquestioned, absolute personal rule are at an end. For the first time, leaders of the ruling Congress Party are demanding that attention be paid to the majority sentiment in the party as well as to Nehru's own ideas. The 437 million people of India may cease being Nehru's children and may at last become his constituents.

This does not mean that Nehru no longer leads, but only that from now on he will have to lead by using the more orthodox methods of a Western politician. Conservative members of the Congress Party, notably Finance Minister Morarji Desai, have been strengthened, and expect that Nehru's dogmatic reliance on socialism and the "public sector" of industry will be reduced; if India is to arm in a hurry, they argue, it will need the drive and energy of the "private sector."

Moreover, the Indian army may not only at last get the equipment it needs but may also gradually emerge as something of a political force. While this view is still vastly unpopular, many army officers think it is time for India to come to terms with Pakistan over the nagging Kashmir issue, so that the two great countries of the subcontinent can present a united front to China.

Bartered Gains

There is still considerable dispute over how little or how much the Chinese were after in their attack on India. One theory held by some leading Indian military men is that the Reds want eventually to drive as far as Calcutta, thereby outflanking all of Southeast Asia. In such a drive, the Chinese would be able to take advantage of anti-Indian feeling along the way, notably among the rebellious Nagas in East Assam, and in the border state of Sikkim. Reaching Calcutta, perhaps the world's most miserable city, where 125,000 homeless persons sleep on the streets each night, they would find readymade the strongest Communist organization in India. According to this theory, the Reds could set up a satellite regime in the Bay of Bengal and, without going any farther with their armies, wait for the rest of India to splinter and fall. This strategy has not necessarily been abandoned for good, but it certainly has been set aside. For one thing, the Chinese attack shattered Communism as a political force even in Calcutta.

The prevailing theory now is that the Chinese had less ambitious aims to begin with: to take the high ground and the key military passes away from the Indians, and to finally establish, once and for all, Chinese control of the Aksai Chin plateau in Ladakh, so as to safeguard the vital military roads to Sinkiang province. The Chinese may have been unprepared to exploit the almost total collapse of India's armed forces and may even have been surprised by their swift success. On this reading, the terms of the Chinese cease-fire offer become intelligible. The Nov. 7 line would in effect barter away the sizable Chinese gains in NEFA for Indian acceptance of China's property rights in Aksai Chin.

Viewed from Peking, the difficulties of supply through the Himalayas in dead of winter might make the Communists hesitate to try to occupy Assam, especially since India's determined show of national unity, and the West's evident willingness to support India to the hilt. There is a significant indication of one Chinese anxiety in the cease-fire offer. After warning that renewed war will "bring endless disaster to India," Peking says: "Particularly serious is the prospect that if U.S. imperialism is allowed to become involved, the present conflict will grow into a war in which Asians are made to fight Asians, entirely contrary to the fundamental interests of the Indian people." Implicit in those words are Red Chinese memories of the prolonged Korean war. which ended in a gory stalemate.

India's angry millions, armed, trained and aided by the U.S., must be a prospect that not even Mao Tse-tung relishes facing. Instead, by in effect quitting while they are ahead, the Chinese can play the peacemakers in the short-sighted eyes of the neutral nations, while having dramatically demonstrated their military superiority over India and without having to abandon the long-range threat. Says Madame Pandit: "This attack was far more than just an attack on one border. India is completely and wholly dedicated to democracy and not to some kind of 'Asian democracy.' China's motive was to humiliate India and to prove democracy is unworkable in Asia."

Without Meaning

Even if Nehru were prepared to give away Ladakh in return for a Chinese pullback elsewhere, he is committed to clearing all Indian territory of the invaders. And Nehru must know that the situation has reached a point where he can never again trust a Red Chinese promise and that the relationship between India and China has changed irrevocably. His policy of nonalignment has not been jettisoned. It has just ceased to have any meaning.

But Americans in New Delhi last week were irritated by evidence that the Indian government still prefers equivocation to the plain truth. Official requests went out to the Indian press not to print photos showing the arrival of U.S. arms, and the twelve U.S. Air Force transport planes sent by Washington to ferry Indian troops were made to sound like leased aircraft flown by mercenaries. The crowds know better. A current slogan is a revision of the earlier cry for brotherhood with China: "Americans bhai bhai; Chini hai hail" (Americans are our brothers; death to the Chinese!).

An Indian Cabinet minister, who disagrees with Nehru politically but respects him, says passionately: "He will come to many changes now. You cannot imagine how difficult it was for him to get rid of Menon. Do not think it was easy for him to ask for American arms. Right now, it is important not to push him into a corner in public." Another Cabinet minister, who does not like Nehru, also counsels patience: "His will to resist will wear down. It is already worn down a long way. Hitherto, there was no opposition at all in India. Now, Nehru is relying on his opposition. He may hate it. He has been thrown into the company of people like me, people he does not like. We make strange bedfellows, but together we are going to win the war."

To Americans it may sound like a peculiar way to win a war. But though India moves at a different pace and speaks with a different voice few could doubt last week the Indian determination to see that the Himalayan defeats were avenged, however long it may take.


Regular Member
Oct 27, 2009
some senior military commanders must give some of facts about this war and role of nehru,which is not known to public.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
role of krishna menon is very much in questionable along with the leadership of nehru and military leadership of gen.Kaul.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
cross posting....from Henderson Brooks�Bhagat Report summary by Neville Maxwell

I was reading about the 1962 indo-china war when i came across the summary of the still classified summary of 1962 debacle report of Lt General Henderson Brooks-Brigadier P S Baghat by british correspondent Neville Maxwell,who claimed to have seen this report.Now the question is when GOI still dont want to declassify this report under RTI act(last request was denied by defence minister AK Anthony in 2009 under official secret act),then how come a british correspondent got his hand on to that.Mind it Neville Maxwell is a reputed correspondent and in the absence of declassified report his summary is taken as the gospel truth to Henderson Brooks-Baghat report.And in his summary Neville Maxwell lays the entire blame at the doorstep of nehru and his selected B M Kaul, general thapar,IB director N B Mullik and Krishna menon.

At the time of independence Kaul appeared to be a failed officer, if not disgraced.
Although Sandhurst-trained for infantry service he had eased through the war
without serving on any front line and ended it in a humble and obscure post in
public relations. But his courtier wiles, irrelevant or damning until then, were to
serve him brilliantly in the new order that independence brought, after he came
to the notice of Nehru, a fellow Kashmiri brahmin and indeed distant kinsman.
Boosted by the prime minister's steady favouritism, Kaul rocketed up through the
army structure to emerge in 1961 at the very summit of Army HQ. Not only did
he hold the key appointment of chief of the general staff (CGS) but the Army
Commander, Thapar, was in effect his client.
Now how credible is Neville Maxwell summary.IF you read his report you will get a feeling that its influnced by his personal agenda,which i cant decipher what his agenda was.like the above quote from his summary.I'm attaching the full report for members views.

Henderson Brooks�Bhagat Report summary by Neville Maxwell

Henderson Brooks Report: An Introduction
Neville Maxwell
April14-20, 2001
A Defence Ministry Committee is reported to have recommended releasing into
the public domain, the official reports on India's wars against Pakistan 1947,
1965 and 1971. Also the 1962 border war against China, India's intervention in
Sri Lanka and others. Reproduced here is British author Neville Maxwell's
summary of what he believes the Henderson Brooks Report contains. This article
first appeared in the Economic & Political Weekly. Neville Maxwell is the author of
India's China War.
WHEN THE Army's report into its debacle in the border war was completed in
1963, the Indian government had good reason to keep it Top Secret and give
only the vaguest, and largely misleading, indications of its contents. At that time
the government's effort, ultimately successful, to convince the political public that
the Chinese, with a sudden 'unprovoked aggression', had caught India unawares
in a sort of Himalayan Pearl Harbour was in its early stages and the report's cool
and detailed analysis, if made public, would have shown that to be selfexculpatory
But a series of studies, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing into the
1990s,1 revealed to any serious enquirer the full story of how the Indian Army
was ordered to challenge the Chinese military to a conflict it could only lose. So
by now only bureaucratic inertia, combined with the natural fading of any public
interest, can explain the continued non-publication - the report includes no
surprises and its publication would be of little significance but for the fact that so
many in India still cling to the soothing fantasy of a 1962 Chinese 'aggression'.
It seems likely now that the report will never be released. Furthermore, if one day
a stable, confident and relaxed government in New Delhi should, miraculously,
appear and decide to clear out the cupboard and publish it, the text would be
largely incomprehensible, the context, well known to the authors and therefore
not spelled out, being now forgotten. The report would need an introduction and
gloss - a first draft of which this paper attempts to provide, drawing upon the
writer's research in India in the 1960s and material published later.
Two preambles are required, one briefly recalling the cause and course of the
border war, the second to describe the fault-line, which the border dispute turned
into a schism, within the Army's officer corps, which was a key factor in the
disaster - and of which the Henderson Brooks Report can be seen as an
Origins of Border Conflict: India at the time of independence can be said have
faced no external threats. True, it was born into a relationship of permanent
belligerency with its weaker Siamese twin Pakistan, left by the British inseparably
conjoined to India by the member of Kashmir, vital to both new national
organisms; but that may be seen as essentially an internal dispute, an
untreatable complication left by the crude, cruel surgery of partition.
In 1947 China, wracked by civil war, was in what appeared to be death throes
and no conceivable threat to anyone. That changed with astonishing speed and
by 1950, when the newborn People's Republic re-established in Tibet the central
authority which had lapsed in 1911, the Indian Government will have made its
initial assessment of the possibility and potential of a threat from China and found
those to be minimal, if not non-extent.
First, there were geographic and topographical factors, the great mountain chains
which lay between the two neighbours and appeared to make large-scale troop
movements impractical. More important, the leadership of the Indian Government
- which is to say, Jawaharlal Nehru - had for years proclaimed that the
unshakable friendship between India and China would be the key to both their
futures and therefore Asia's, even the world's. The new leaders in Beijing were
more chary, viewing India through their Marxist prism as a potentially hostile
bourgeois state. But in the Indian political perspective war with China was
deemed unthinkable and through the 1950s New Delhi's defence planning and
expenditure expressed that confidence.
By the early 1950s, however, the Indian government, which is to say Nehru and
his acolyte officials, had shaped and adopted a policy whose implementation
would make armed conflict with China not only 'thinkable' but inevitable. From
the first days of India's independence, it was appreciated that the Sino-Indian
borders had been left undefined by the departing British and that territorial
disputes with China were part of India's inheritance. China's other neighbours
faced similar problems and over the succeeding decades of the century, almost all
of those were to settle their borders satisfactorily through the normal process of
diplomatic negotiation with Beijing.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Why India lost the 1962 border war?

"I remember many a time when our senior generals came to us, and wrote to the defence ministry saying that they wanted certain things... If we had had foresight, known exactly what would happen, we would have done something else... what India has learnt from the Chinese invasion is that in the world of today there is no place for weak nations... We have been living in an unreal world of our own creation."

The statement was made by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in Rajya Sabha, in 1963, after India's humiliating defeat at the hands of China. It is an eye opening statement from a leader who always viewed international politics from his own utopian prism.

The defeat in the 1962 border war made him realise that there is indeed no place for weak nations in the world politics.

"In the political and diplomatic fields too, significant changes came through the 1962 episode, bringing more realism," notes the official Indian history of the border war between India and China.

The India-China war was an eye-opener for India. But even after 45 years, the people of India are not aware of the circumstances and reasons that led to India's defeat. The popular belief among the masses is that China betrayed Indian trust and attacked our defenses in the Ladakh and North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) region.

But the government inquiry in the defeat (still classified), the official history of the Government of India (1992), declassified documents from China and United States of America, and a huge amount of research on the subject by Indian analysts and experts reveal startling facts about the war.

The most significant reason of our defeat is that the political leadership of that time failed India. It was not Chinese betrayal, but then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon's arrogant belief that they would solve the crisis through diplomacy and that China would not dare attack India despite the latter's 'Forward Policy'.

This policy and the duo's assumption of Chinese in-action in event of crisis was firmly supported by then Intelligence Bureau Director B N Mullick, who, according to some analysts, was also responsible for misleading the political leadership.

After going through the available material important factors which possibly led to India's defeat on the eastern front emerge. They are:
Erroneous assessment by the political leadership that China will not react to India's 'Forward Policy' in NEFA region and Ladakh.
Ill-equipped and ill prepared Indian army.
China's unfounded perception of Indian designs to seize Tibet.

Damning report

After the humiliating defeat, the Indian Army entrusted Lieutenant-General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P S Bhagat to inquire into the debacle. Although the terms of reference set for them were very limited, the duo dug deep and discovered a great deal about the initial formulation of the "Forward Policy" and how the Indian Army was forced into the conflict by the political leadership of that time.

The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report is still classified but a British Correspondent, Neville Maxwell, had seen the report and he published a summary of what the report contains. How he got to see the report is unclear but rumour has it that a senior minister passed a copy of the report to him.

The Indian Government published an official history - The History of the Conflict with China, 1962, which was written by the History Division of the Ministry of Defence in 1992. Both the reports point out that an ill-equipped and ill-prepared Indian Army was forced to take on superior Chinese PLA.

Infact, General K S Thimayya, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) until 1961, wrote in Seminar Magazine in 1962 that, "I cannot even, as a soldier, envisage India taking on China in an open conflict on its own; we could never hope to match China in the foreseeable future. It must be left to the politicians and diplomats to ensure our security."

Despite this, the political leadership, backed by the Intelligence Bureau, ordered the army to setup forward posts in all areas that India claimed its own. This included areas which were disputed.

The 'Forward Policy', which called for establishing posts in the disputed areas often behind Chinese forward posts, had been continuing since 1954 despite repeated protests by the Chinese Government.

Chronology of India-China Border War, 1962

Nehru's going ahead with this policy was based on assumptions. He was of the belief that China would not oppose Indian patrols and border outposts out of fear of an India backed by both the United States of America and Soviet Union.

The rationale behind the policy was to setup border posts and drive out the Chinese from the areas which India considered its own.

Several Indian Army officers opposed the policy as militarily perilous as they were aware that the Indian Army was not adequately prepared to face the Chinese force in the frontiers.

The official Indian version of the war states that: "In the years 1959-1960, LT General S P P Thorat, GOC-in-C Eastern Command, had made an appreciation about the magnitude of Chinese threat to Indian borders in the Eastern Sector and had made projections about his requirements to meet that threat. But the Army HQ as well as the Defence Minister paid little heed to Gen Thorat's appreciation. It was not even brought to the notice of the Prime Minister."

Politicisation of Army HQ

Instead of heeding sound military advice, Nehru replaced the military top brass with more submissive officers, who would carry out his orders and eventually lead to India's humiliation. This overt politicisation of the army high command was one of the reasons why India lost.

To top it all, irresponsible and jingoistic statements by the political leadership precipitated matters and gave a handle to the Chinese to attack Indian posts in 'self-defense'.

Then Home Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, declared on February 4, 1962 that "If the Chinese will not vacate the areas occupied by her, India will have to repeat what she did in Goa. She will certainly drive out the Chinese forces."

Nehru also gave a statement on October 12, 1962, that he had "ordered the Indian Army to throw the Chinese out."

Driving out the Chinese forces was an optimistic declaration by the political leadership but the ground situation was different. Indian Army was logistically weak and ill-prepared to take on the superior Chinese forces that were well trained in mountain warfare.

Although Indian and Chinese forces were involved in a series of clashes along the border throughout 1962, significant fighting of the India-China Border War took place from October 10, 1962 to November 20, 1962. The fighting took place in Walong, Tawang, and Aksai Chin.

According to military analysts, a series of factors led to Indian Army's debacle. The Indian intelligence apparatus in the Himalayas was lacking. They had no clear indication of Chinese strength, mobility and tactics, especially the human wave attacks, states a report.

Roderick MacFarquhar, in his book The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, Vol. 3: The Coming of the Cataclysm 1961-1966, blamed the Indian intelligence community for not properly analysing Chinese domestic and diplomatic developments. According to him, they relied on CIA briefings, newspaper account and dispatches from the Indian embassy in Beijing about China's economic crisis, its split with the Soviet Union, and the Taiwan crisis. Depending on these reports, Indian political, army and intelligence leadership concluded that China will not react aggressively to India's 'Forward Policy'.

Even militarily, successive inquiries in the border war would reveal, Indian Army was not ready to take on the Chinese. Very few Indian soldiers had operated in mountain areas. The troops were using obsolete weapons unsuitable for mountain warfare and that too were in short supply. The Chinese were well supplied as they had stocked supplies in Tibet and their soldiers were well acquainted with mountain warfare.

Logistical, leadership failure

The Indian soldiers, on the other hand, did not even have enough winter clothing and shoes. Even the line of communications was difficult as there was no road network. The supplies and reinforcements for the troops were sent most by air, states the official Indian history.

Apart from that the troops were short on artillery and ammunition and the artillery they had was very often immobile in the mountains.

Besides, the morale of the forces was at its lowest. The decision making in the army was totally ad-hoc. The official Indian history states: "Some of the decisions were patently incomprehensible. For example, when 2 Rajput were stopped in their way to the plains for reinduction, they were sent to Kameng, a totally new area for them, instead of being sent back to Walong Sector with which they were quite familiar. The result was confusion all around."

"Unplanned induction of troops on ad hoc basis and the consequent breaking of original formations ruined the cohesiveness and compactness of fighting formations," the report states.

One such incident, which merits attention is the government's order attack and evict the Chinese force that was threatening Dhola Post. The field commanders argued that it was militarily impossible to take on the superior Chinese forces at the point of confrontation, below Thagla Ridge near McMahon Line.

According to a study, sometime in September, the Army HQ ordered the troops to capture a Chinese post 1000 yards north-east of Dhola Post and contain the Chinese concentration south of Thagla Ridge. The army official inquiry into the war, the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report, while commenting on the order state: "The General Staff, sitting in Delhi, ordering an action against a position 1000 yards north-east of Dhola Post is astounding. The country was not known, the enemy situation vague and for all that there may have been a ravine in between [the troops and their objective], but yet the order was given. This order could go down in the annals of history as being as incredible as the order for the Charge of the Light Brigade."

The political leadership and the Army HQ then decided to give the task of attacking and driving the Chinese forces off Thagla Ridge to the newly formed IV Corps. Interestingly, the command of this new formation was given to Lieutenant General B M Kaul, who had never commanded an active fighting outfit.

The official history also blamed Kaul for frequently ignoring the chain of command. The report accused him of directly approaching the Chief of Army Staff, bypassing the GOC-in-C and also giving orders directly to junior officers, bypassing a chain of middle officers.

General Kaul was subsequently relieved after the ceasefire was announced. He later resigned from the army.

No use of IAF

Another important factor, which many analysts and defence experts believe could have altered the outcome of war, was India's decision of not using the air force. The Indian Air Force (IAF) was not used for any offensive action and was only confined to air dropping supplies to the troops.

Former Air Vice-Marshal A K Tewary, in an article in Indian Defence Review, said that had India pressed in the IAF, the outcome of the war would have been different.

"In the final analysis, the use of combat air power would have turned the tables on the Chinese and the 1962 war could well have been a debacle for China," he said in the article.

He blamed the IB Director B N Mullick for exaggerated assessment of attack by Chinese bombers on Indian cities if India had used the air force.

At one point of time, Nehru got so worried that he sent two letters to then US President John F Kennedy requesting the support of US Air Force in fighting the Chinese. The letters, delivered between November 15 and November 20, 1962, are still classified.

But S Gopal, in his biography of Jawaharlal Nehru, has summarised the content of the letters: "Nehru, without consulting anybody in his Cabinet, wrote two letters to Kennedy describing the situation as 'really desperate' and requesting the immediate dispatch of a minimum of 12 squadrons of supersonic all-weather fighters and the setting up of radar communications. American personnel would have to man these fighters and installations and protect Indian cities from air attacks by the Chinese till Indian personnel had been trained."

"Nehru also sought two B-47 bombers squadrons from the US to enable India to strike at Chinese bases and air fields, but to learn to fly these planes Indian pilots and technicians would be sent immediately for training in the US," Gopal had written.

But on November 20, 1962, China declared a unilateral ceasefire. India lost extensive territory. In NEFA, the Chinese captured huge territory, advanced nearly 200 km and almost reached the Assam plains. In the end, both the sides withdrew their troops 20 km from new boundary lines on December 1, 1962.

Appropriate time to strike

Some analysts have suggested that India was at fault in this war and that it pursued an aggressive policy and provoked China, which left them with no alternative but to act in self defense. This assessment is incorrect as historical evidence suggests that China was well aware of Indian moves and was waiting for an appropriate time to strike, which it did, once it got respite from its external problems.

China was facing a threat of invasion from Taiwan during the initial months of 1962. But once, that situation eased in June, it committed more troops to border with India.

Careful analysis of historical events suggests that Chinese attack October 20, 1962 was a well planned move and it coincided with the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event which brought the world on the brink of obliteration.

The Chinese move is appropriately explained by the official Indian history, which state: "It is indeed plausible to speculate that the Chinese deliberately timed their attack to coincide the Cuban missile crisis. The superpowers, who were engaged in a deathly struggle, ensured the required degree of freedom for the Chinese to use force against India without fear of their interference."

China declared unilateral ceasefire on November 20, 1962, immediately after the resolution of crisis in the Caribbeans.

Indian designs to seize Tibet

Another important factor behind the flaring up of the border war between India and China was China's unfounded perception of Indian designs to seize Tibet.

According to analysts, after the declassification of documents regarding the 1962 War in both China and India, new facts have emerged about the Chinese deliberations before the war.

Chinese policymakers, analysts believe, held the view that India was colluding with the US to detach Tibet from China. A need to punish Indian aggressive 'Forward Policy' in the border areas was definitely a reason for the Chinese attack.

But their perception that India was deliberately working towards restoring the status quo in Tibet also played a part in their decision to teach India a lesson.

New studies reveal that CIA financed and armed a major resistance movement inside Tibet during the 1950's. China suspected that India was an active party to this movement, a fact which is still unconfirmed. Then Director of Intelligence Bureau, B N Mullick, acknowledged CIA's activities in Tibet during that time in his book The Chinese Betrayal (1971).

Whether India knowingly helped CIA in their Tibet operations or not will be known after India declassifies government papers of that time. But China believed India played an active role and it was one of the reasons for which they decided to punish India.

Brave soldiers

The 1962 War has left a deep scar on the Indian psyche. The political and military leadership sacrificed officers and soldiers under them despite knowing that the army was not prepared to take on the Chinese forces in a terrain where we were logistically weak and did not have proper supply lines.

One thing that united the entire nation in that hour of grief was the exemplary courage shown by the Indian soldiers in the adverse of conditions. It is said that they did not abandoned their rifles even if it meant certain death.

Their courage can be summed up in the immortal song, Aye mere watan ke logon, jara ankh me bharlo paani penned by Poet Pradeep after the defeat.

The moving song brought tears to the eyes of Indians when it was sung by Lata Mangeshkar at an all party meeting on January 26, 1963 in New Delhi. As the song ended, Nehru could not hold his tears and broke down completely.

Till today, the song reminds Indians of the supreme sacrifice of Indian jawans in the Himalayas.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Keeping secrets

We dance around a ring and suppose/ the secret sits in the middle and knows" — much of modern Indian history is marked with that Frostian sense of baffling absence. Like the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. We know the outcome, we still carry the psychic wounds, but the details exist somewhere, unseen by most human eyes.

The Henderson-Brooks (or Brooks-Bhagat) report is believed to be a blow-by-blow account of the 1962 war's operational details, and is speculated to contain a sharply critical appraisal of the actions of the prime minister, his overweening defence minister Krishna Menon, and the war's leading strategists. However, that report, now yellowing and soft with age, has been kept secret for almost 50 years in the defence ministry. No photocopies exist. Through the decades, despite changing political dispensations, the government has chosen to pretend it doesn't exist, as if burying the volumes deep in a South Block warren would make its contents less contentious. Now, after a long and sustained debate and campaign to declassify the file, the Delhi high court has directed the government to place it in court before making a final decision. While the defence minister has expressed his reluctance, theupside is obvious — the logic, the missteps of a dramatic moment in history are fascinating. Given that there is no imaginable security fallout, the government's reasons for keeping the file private seem pretty obscure. In India, we know our own collective story only through troubling gaps and evasions, anecdote and contradiction, compared to other countries where even war secrets are declassified after the usual 30-year period (many countries don't even wait that long for the bulk of information).But besides battering through the doors of state secrecy, unveiling the Henderson Brooks report would also make a decisive move towards closure. Whether or not this is admitted, by repressing the 1962 trauma, India-China relations remain stuck in a weird rut. Instead, acquainting ourselves with the details and nature of our decades-old confrontation is bound to provide a clearer picture of our neighbour's true dimensions, and provide the basis for sensible action in the future.


Respected Member
Senior Member
May 20, 2009
India had no chance to win a war against China in 1962 at all.

With the soviet helt, CHina set up a consolidated industry base with full indutry chains during 1953-1958. In 1959, CHina already had most of its weapons indeginized completely ,from cannon,gun,tank,trucks to jet plane..

If india-sino war took place in mid 1950 before CHinese industry base was completed,India should have more chance to win.


United States of Hindu Empire
May 29, 2009
Sicking tunes that china won 1962 war has proved that most of the people here are mucking around here and pretending to be an expert in every thing. Usual chines propaganda is tolerated here by Indians cause none of them knows the definition of ''winning a war''. Before one could answer, please give me very neat answer what you understand by military victory.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Would like to post the scanned pages from the Indian Army history book," Red coats to olive green:a history of the Indian Army, 1600-1974" By V. Longer.These pases were scanned by Rony and posted at BR All thanks to him.......

some pages from the book dealing with 1967 Nathu la clashes with china as well as some of the interesting information regarding the 1962 border clash.

I will start with the 1962 border clashes.

1. The reason's for the set backs in 1962 in Nehru's words

2. The reason's for the set backs in 1962 as per B.N.Kaul, the commander of 4 corps.

3. Nehru's often quoted ' My heart goes out to Assam ' speech .

4. Nehru comes to terms with the long term chinese threat

5. Recommendations of Henderson Brooks report-1

6. Recommendations of Henderson Brooks report-2

The 1967 Nathu La and Chola Clashes

"1967 is not 1962 " - Sardar Swaran Singh

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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Dated article but Quite relevant....

'Whoever has seen Aksai Chin, as I have, would want someone else to have it'

The passing of John Kenneth Galbraith brings back a flood of memories of this outstanding man (in every sense of the expression), especially of his India connection, that need to be shared.
Six years before he arrived in Delhi as one of the more popular American envoys — and became the first reluctant occupant of Roosevelt House, shifting from the lovely residence at 17 Amrita Shergill Marg — he had spent a year in India advising the Planning Commission, then dominated by his friend P.C. Mahalanobis, on the formulation of the Second Five-Year Plan.

Incidentally, the Eisenhower administration had initially offered the services of Milton Friedman for this purpose. On this Galbraith's typical comment was: ''To ask him to advise on economic planning is like asking the Holy Father to counsel on the operation of a birth control clinic.''

Taking his advisory assignment seriously, JKG wrote several papers, the most important of which was titled ''India's Post Office Socialism''. Even at this distance of time it remains remarkably relevant because, in it, he had brilliantly analysed the causes, principally the politico-bureaucratic stranglehold on the growing public sector undertakings that in later years were to transform many of these sacred cows into white elephants. The paper inevitably leaked and was quoted in Parliament. In the prevailing atmosphere it led to a loud but uninformed controversy. So much so that even so able a parliamentarian as Home Minister Govind Ballabh Pant confused Galbraith with an Englishman, named Braithwaite!

By this time Galbraith had established a cordial rapport with Jawaharlal Nehru that served him well when he became ambassador. But even during those days his association with the Prime Minister was at two levels, official and personal. For instance, which other ambassador could have sent Nehru a note asking whether he could spare a few minutes to see his house guest, the "lovely Hollywood actress Angie ****inson", anxious like all visitors to India to meet the Prime Minister? Within the hour he was asked to bring his guest to Teen Murti. Nehru and Angie talked for two hours.

In her time Indira Gandhi listened to Galbraith with respect and sometimes sought his advice. With Rajiv, his relationship was even more avuncular. Shortly before his crucial visit to China in December 1988, Rajiv Gandhi discussed with JKG, among other things, Aksai Chin. As Galbraith told me a few days later — in "strict confidence" that I have respected till today — his reply to Rajiv was, ''Whoever has seen Aksai Chin, as I have, would want someone else to have it.''

Two years earlier, while researching for my biography of Indira Gandhi, I had asked him what he thought of Rajiv Gandhi succeeding his mother within hours of he assassination. He had refused to comment because he did not want to ''insult the memories of the Roosevelts and the Kennedys''.

During the 27 months JKG was ambassador to this country, the most important event was, of course, the brief but traumatic border war with China. Ironically, on October 20, 1962 he was caught on the wrong foot. He was in London, scheduled to deliver a lecture at the Guild Hall the next day and then to leave for Moscow. he had gone to the theatre and returned to his hotel late. In the wee hours or the morning, a US embassy official, with an ''Eyes Only'' message from President Kennedy, woke him up. JFK's cable regretted that his ambassadors were seldom at their posts ''when needed the most'' and ordered him to cancel the lecture and leave for Delhi ''forthwith''.

Galbraith's active, indeed intimate, role during the month-long war and its aftermath is too well known to need recounting. Except to record, with great anguish, that his was arguably the most forceful voice giving Nehru the unwise advice to desist from using the air force against the Chinese, a counsel the Prime Minister accepted.

In Ambassador's Journal, one of the 33 books he wrote, JKG has recorded with satisfaction that he was left virtually free to make and run policy on the India-China war because it had coincided with the Cuban Missile Crisis that had completely absorbed the attention of all the top policy makers in Washington. That very little attention has been paid so far to this significant coincidence between the events in the Himalayas and the Caribbean is intriguing but it is a different story.

He hasn't said so in Journal but never made a secret of it in private conversation that his second "great satisfaction" in 1962 was to witness the "dismissal" of Krishna Menon as Defence Minister. In his diary, he had noted down in full all the wounding remarks against Menon that his colleagues in the government had made to the ambassador but decided to delete them from the book.

Through his innings as ambassador, Galbraith had only one nightmare. It had nothing to with either the border war or the missile crisis. What had shaken him was Jackie Kennedy's insistence, during her hugely successful, glamour-filled visit to India in March 1962, to see the Sun temple at Konarak. He was mortified by the very thought of Jackie being photographed while looking at some of the more erotic statues. When his attempts to dissuade her failed, he "sheepishly" appealed to her husband. JFK listened to him patiently and said only, "Don't you think she is old enough"?

Luckily for the ambassador, "for reasons of time and a sinus attack", Konarak had to be dropped from the schedule.

Countless is the number of those at the receiving end of Galbraith's slings and arrows, sharpened by wit and laced with just a touch of malice. But this does not mean that he himself was never a target. In fact, on the day his appointment as ambassador to India was announced, The New York Times published a profile of him. At breakfast, Kennedy asked him how he liked it.

JKG replied it was fine but "I cannot see why they had to call me arrogant".

JFK: "I don't see why not, everyone else does".



Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
India had no chance to win a war against China in 1962 at all.

With the soviet helt, CHina set up a consolidated industry base with full indutry chains during 1953-1958. In 1959, CHina already had most of its weapons indeginized completely ,from cannon,gun,tank,trucks to jet plane..

If india-sino war took place in mid 1950 before CHinese industry base was completed,India should have more chance to win.
Hope you would have read about the Nathu'la incident immediately after 5 yrs in 1967....


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
There was an of Article in 05 May 2007 by karan Thapar yes the CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar the son of General P N Thapar(Who lead Operations Against Chinese in 1962).It has to be noted that Gen.Kaul and Gen. PN thapar were criticized and sacked for there leadership during 1962.He tried to implicate Sam Manekshaw for the failures of 1962 just based on the book of Gohar Ayub who was the son of Gen.Ayub Khan of pakistan .Gohar Ayub wrote a book based on gis Dad's diary.

Secrets from the past

I had no idea a diary could be so fascinating. To be honest, I've never kept one, I haven't read many and I didn't finish Anne Frank's. But at the moment I'm engrossed in Field Marshal Ayub Khan's. It's a 599 page book sent by his son Gohar. Even though it's published 33 years after Ayub's death, I have to admit I'm hooked.
Let's start with the pictures. There are 110 but what stands out in each and every one is how dashing and suave Ayub was. These days few officers are gentlemen or vice-versa; Ayub was definitely both. My favourites are shaking hands with Mao, standing in a shark's skin dinner jacket beside Ike, sitting at the Elysee with de Gaulle, striding out with Jackie Kennedy and patting Lyndon Johnson on the cheek. As a general's son I can tell you they don't make them like this any more!
However, it's the political revelations that are spellbinding. Although I'm still skimming through the book I've already come across seven different references to intelligence leaks from India. If they're credible — and why would a man lie to his diary, particularly if what he's confiding is not for immediate publication? — India, it would seem, was a leaky sieve.
Read the entry for 1 July 1967: "We are now in full possession of India's plans of attack against East and West Pakistan." Or this from 12 April 1968: "The Director of Military Intelligence came to see me and showed a copy of the latest Indian plan of attack "¦ (it's) well-made and is designed to bring overwhelming force against us "¦ we shall have a hard task in meeting this challenge." And then, a few months later, on 16 July: "(General) Akbar showed me a copy of the offensive plan of the 1st India Corps against West Pakistan. It has been marked out in great detail, right down to the battalion, especially the crossings and bridges over the Ravi."
Even when India discovered that Pakistan had details of its war plans, Ayub's diaries show that Pakistan found this out as well. This is what the Field Marshal writes on 11 October 1967: "The Director of Intelligence brought me certain documents indicating that the Indians had become suspicious that we have some inkling of their plan of attack on West Pakistan. They had, therefore, changed their plan, but told their commanders to continue simulating the original plan for the purpose of deception". It seems our Defence Ministry and Army Headquarters were riddled with Pakistani spies!
Two years ago Ayub's son, Gohar, claimed his father had given him the name of an Indian Director of Military Operations from the 1950s who had sold the country's war plans to the Pakistanis for 20,000 rupees. At the time this was dismissed as a silly if not pathetic lie. However, a few journalists like me tried to take Gohar seriously. We quizzed him about the six officers who had served as DMO in that decade. They were brigadiers Manekshaw, Daulet Singh, RB Chopra, KS Katoch, DC Mishra and Amrik Singh. But Gohar refused to name the one. If I recall correctly, Pranab Mukherjee, who was then Defence Minister, dismissed the allegation as laughable. But now I wonder, does Gohar know something we don't?
Equally absorbing are Ayub's opinions of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He was just 29 when Ayub made him Minister of Commerce. Bhutto rose to become Foreign Minister before he was sacked in July 1966. The diaries suggest Ayub was both fascinated and repelled by him.
Ayub says Bhutto was sacked because "he started drinking himself into a stupor and led a very loose life". Calling him "a clown", Ayub recounts how he discovered after their parting that "he (Bhutto) had volunteered to spy for the USA". A few days after Bhutto took over as President of Pakistan, Ayub predicted he would "come a cropper "¦ in any case the government will be that of the goondas, for the goondas".
No less fascinating is Ayub's portrait of Yahya Khan. This 'loyal' army chief was plotting to replace the Field Marshal and succeeded: "If it was not for his treachery the agitation (which forced Ayub's resignation) would have been controlled". There's definitely a lesson here for General Musharraf! Ayub writes that Yahya indulged in "big corruption which was carried on by him through Alvi of the Standard Bank". Finally, Yahya Khan "attempted suicide twice but his brother, who lives with him, managed to save him in time".
Writing a month before the outbreak of civil war in East Pakistan, Ayub says: "The best solution would be to withdraw the army"¦to think about a confederation"¦ we've gone beyond the stage of a federation." On 16 December, after Niazi agreed to surrender to Jacob, Ayub comments: "The separation of Bengal, though painful, was inevitable and unavoidable "¦ I wish our rulers had the sense to realise this in time and let the Bengalis go in a peaceful manner instead of India bringing this about by a surgical operation."
I don't know of any Indian politician who has kept as forthright and fulsome a diary. If any had I wonder what we would have learned? But if you want to know more about Ayub's, join me at 10.30 pm tomorrow, Monday the 7th, on CNBC when his son Gohar will be my guest. I intend to talk about the India revelations and who knows what else we might find out.

Kulpdip Nayar Rubbishes karan thapar's Allegation against Sam Manekshaw and Vilify him for believing Gohar Ayub who's book is just fiction based on his father's diaries.

Gohar bombshell and India's China war debacle

Across the Palk Straits By Kuldip Nayar

When I first met Gohar Ayub, former foreign minister of Pakistan, in 1984 at his residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan, he said that his father General Mohammad Ayub, still in power, told him that he (Ayub) would get a copy of defence secret papers before they reached the table of Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister. Subsequently, Gohar changed the version slightly and said that a senior Indian army officer used to pass them defence secrets. In the latest interview to Karan Thapar, a distinguished anchor, Gohar claimed that a brigadier in the Directorate of Military Operations sold to Pakistan India's 1965 war plan for a paltry sum of Rs 20,000.

Gohar is publishing his book in India. He is feverishly looking for avenues to get publicity. His television interview with Karan is part of the same exercise. I would have put aside the allegation by Gohar but for the slanted and subjective questions by Karan, relating to Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw.

That Karan was "Devil's Advocate" was understandable. Some heat and rhetoric was in order. So was the badgering of Gohar. But what I object to is the manner in which Karan conducted the programme, almost suggesting that Manekshaw was the guilty officer. Even a thought on those lines is preposterous.

Karan is aggressive but largely fair. I could not understand how he could even mention Manekshaw's name in the context of someone passing on defence secrets to Pakistan. He is one of the most loved and revered military figures of India and his record of service is a testimony to his outstanding contribution to the nation. What shocked me was the way in which Karan would come again and again, charged like a wounded animal, to almost force Gohar say that Manekshaw was the officer concerned.

Gohar said repeatedly that he was not naming Manekshaw and that it was he (Karan) was doing so. Still Karan went on and on. I can imagine the reason for Karan's hurt. As a child, he must have seen his father, General P.N. Thapar, chief of army staff, suffering from the ignominy of having lost the war against China in 1962 when he was not to blame. But I can assure Karan that Manekshaw had no share in the campaign of vilification built against General Thapar. In fact, Manakshaw was himself at that time facing an inquiry on the framed-up charges. He was subsequently exonerated.

The person responsible for heaping all the blame on General Thapar was Nehru. In fact, it was Krishna Menon, the then defence minister, who had a knife against the general and wanted to see his back. Menon would call him a toothless old man. I talked to the general for two days before narrating the Indo-China war in my book, India After Nehru. I found that General Thapar had been made a scapegoat.

What the general told me was that he had warned both Nehru and Menon that to evict the Chinese from the post they had occupied in Indian territories would be like "disturbing a hornet's nest." The general had vainly argued that the Indian army did not have the strength needed: the ratio was six Chinese to one Indian. Still, as an honourable and duty-bound General, he offered to resign after the debacle in 1962.

When he met Nehru, who declined to accept the resignation, he assured him that he was not to blame and that the responsibility lay somewhere else. However, when parliament wanted Krishna Menon's head and when even Nehru was not spared for "protecting" the defence minister, the anger boiled over. A few Congress stalwarts felt so let down that they even held Nehru responsible and wanted him to go.

Nehru was so worried and upset over parliament's angry mood that he sent his cabinet secretary Khera to General Thapar's house to request him to give his resignation in writing to make his verbal request good. Khera assured the general that Prime Minister had promised not to use the latter.

Yet, the general's resignation was the first thing which Nehru announced in parliament to mollify the members. It is another matter that Menon too had to go. General Thapar felt upset and met Nehru to protest against the announcement of his resignation without telling parliament that he (Thapar) had warned the government against going to war against China at that time. The general said "a great wrong" had been done to him in the manner in which his letter of resignation had been released without giving the background of circumstances obtaining at that time, particularly when nothing was said in his defence.

Nehru promised him that one day he (Nehru) would undo the wrong done to him. That day never came and the general continued to suffer from the humiliation without having been allowed to tell his side of the story. Karan should know that after the debacle when Lt Gen Balmukund Kaul was removed from the Eastern Command, Manekshaw was the only officer who could retrieve the situation to the extent possible.

Menon, still the defence minister, opposed the proposal tooth and nail. But Nehru rejected Menon's objection and posted Manekshaw.
Reverting to Gohar's allegation, I doubt if there was any top Indian army officer selling secrets to Pakistan. I doubt the authenticity of his charge. Gohar should produce some concrete evidence other than his own statement if he wants India to take his allegation seriously.

I recall that at the Abbottabad meeting where Gohar told me about the leakage of defence secrets, he also said that Pakistan would have meaningful talks with India only when the latter would disintegrate into six parts. Twenty three years have gone by but India, however chaotic, is more united than ever before. And, willy-nilly, Pakistan is conducting meaningful talks to normalize relations with India.

If Karan were to take my advice, I would say that he should write a personal letter to Manekshaw regretting the impression his interview with Gohar had created as if he (General Thapar) was gunning for Manekshaw.

Here was another rubishment of karan thapar's article published in manaorma online....link not working found it on forum...

Sullying Sam - R. Prasannan (20-5-2007)

The field marshal is again at the receiving end. Is it to sell a book or to settle old scores?
Gohar Ayub Khan had said this two years ago-that a brigadier in the directorate of military operations (DMO) had sold India's 1965 'invasion' plans to Pakistan for Rs 20,000. Last week, India's ace television interviewer Karan Thapar got him close to naming the traitor as Field Marshal S.F.J. Manekshaw.
A week earlier, Karan Thapar had got Lt-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob to say that it was he-not Manekshaw-who had ordered the eastern army to capture Dacca in 1971. Another old hat, like the one that Jacob always wears. Jacob had said the same thing 10 years ago in his self-glorifying book Surrender at Dacca. He was more subdued and careful then. Manekshaw was hale and hearty then, and so was Jacob's immediate superior of 1971, Lt-Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora. Today, as Maj.-Gen. Himmat Singh Gill put it in a recent article, "Sam Manekshaw lies indisposed...; General Aurora is no longer with us; ... neither Jagjivan Ram nor Indira Gandhi [is] around...." None of Jacob's 1971 superiors is around today to pull him up.

Jacob was the chief of staff (COS) under eastern army commander Aurora before whom Lt.-Gen. A.A.K. Niazi and about one lakh Pakistani soldiers surrendered in Dacca. Jacob's claim is that the Army chief, Gen. Manekshaw, had ordered the eastern army to ignore Dacca, and capture other towns. Had the eastern army done so, claims Jacob, the war would have been prolonged. Therefore, it was Jacob-not Manekshaw nor Aurora who agreed with his boss-who masterminded a quick war and victory.

In short, the cheroot-smoking two-star officer was disregarding a three-star general, a four-star-general, the defence minister and the Prime Minister of India!
Jacob's bluff has already been called by those who know. Depinder Singh, who was Manekshaw's military adviser (later a lieutenant-general), has scoffed at Jacob in his book Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw: Soldiering with Dignity: "As every soldier knows, a built-up area is the least attractive of objectives as it becomes a death-trap entailing enormous loss of time and life. Therefore, very rarely will a city be designated as an objective. Instead, the military objective will almost always be the destruction of the opponent's military might. When operations commenced on 3rd December 1971, the thrusts by 2 Corps from the east were all directed at Dacca as it was to this city that all withdrawing columns of the Pakistani army were heading." In short, capture of Dacca was not Jacob's clever idea, but something decided when it was found that the enemy was withdrawing to Dacca. If the enemy had withdrawn to, say, Chittagong, that city would have been the ultimate military objective.

Himmat Singh Gill (he rose to be lieutenant-general), who was in the directorate of military operations (DMO) headed by Maj.-Gen. I.S. Gill during 1971, endorses this. H.S. Gill recently wrote in response to Jacob's claims that the capture of Dacca and "all those weighty decisions were enabled with ... General Aurora delivering beyond his charter, a bold yet not rash DMO [I.S. Gill] who would not hesitate to speak out his mind with his boss [Manekshaw]..., and a Raksha Mantri [Jagjivan Ram] who was smart... enough to seize a fleeting opportunity."

So, Jacob was not at all there, where 'weighty' decisions were being taken. "The highest policy decisions," Gill continues, "were taken at the level of the field army commander [Aurora], the chief [Manekshaw], the DMO [I.S. Gill] and the PM [Indira Gandhi], ably assisted by the defence minister [Ram], and certainly not at the level of COS [Jacob] of a command headquarters. The COS, being a staff officer, only puts into implementation the directions of the army commander [Aurora]."
Jacob's another claim is that he persuaded Gen. Niazi to surrender. He claims to have drafted the surrender document, gone to Dacca risking his life, and to have cleverly tricked Niazi, who had 30,000 troops in Dacca against 3,000 Indian troops outside Dacca, into a surrender, instead of a ceasefire. But Saddiq Salik's book Witness to Surrender says Jacob "brought the 'surrender deed' which Gen. Niazi and his chief of staff preferred to call 'the draft ceasefire agreement'. Jacob handed over the papers to Baqar, who placed them before Major-General Farman. Gen. Farman objected to the clause pertaining to the 'Joint Command of India and Bangladesh'. Jacob said, 'But this is how it has come from Delhi'."

It was not the flamboyant Jacob but a Col. Khera of Indian Military Intelligence who did some talking. Khera assured Niazi that it "was an internal matter between India and Bangladesh. You are surrendering to the Indian army only."
If Jacob's case appears to be an attempt to claim a place in history (at the surrender ceremony, he stood right behind Niazi where no camera could miss him), Gohar Ayub Khan's appears to be a ruse to sell his book. The son of Field Marshal Ayub Khan, who got a bloody nose in the 1965 war, Gohar must have listened to a lot of old soldiers' tales on his father's lap. His father is said to have written in his diary that in 1965 a brigadier in the Indian Army Headquarters had sold India's war plans for Rs 20,000 which went to his wife's hobby of canning fruits and vegetables. The description of the brigadier, as given by Gohar to Karan Thapar last week, fitted Manekshaw.
The allegation was pooh-poohed two years ago when Gohar first talked of it, by most people who knew what happened during the 1965 war. The fact is that India had no invasion plan-for hen-pecked brigadiers to sell-and was, therefore, surprised by the Pakistani offensive. If at all someone (certainly not Manekshaw) sold something, it could not have been anything more than an orbat (order of battle) of some small sector. Since Gohar's knowledge of military matters does not extend to distinguishing between the medals his father had pinned on his own chest, the poor fellow must have confused orbat with war plan. And as a serving officer at the Army Headquarters put it, "if Ayub could not win the war despite getting our entire operation plan, then one can imagine the military genius of their generals."The troubling fact is that, though no one in India has ever accused Manekshaw of being a traitor, many have been jealous of his rise through the 1960s. The Army Headquarters in the 1960s was virtually divided into two groups, as has been brought out in the various accounts of the 1962 and 1965 operations. Nehru's defence minister Krishna Menon was grooming his own coterie, the most prominent among whom was B.M. Kaul whom he appointed commander of IV corps in the east. Menon also appointed the pliable Gen. P.N. Thapar to succeed K.S. Thimayya (whom Menon hated) as Army chief.

Thimayya's favourites-mainly Lt-Gen. S.P.P. Thorat, J.N. Choudhuri and Manekshaw-were sidelined during the Thapar-Kaul days. Thorat, who was a contender for the chief's post against Thapar, retired as a lieutenant-general. Thapar and Kaul also tried to block Manekshaw's promotion by instituting a frivolous inquiry against him.
The fortunes of Choudhuri and Manekshaw looked up after the Thapar-Kaul duo goofed up the 1962 war. Thapar resigned forthwith, and was succeeded as chief by Choudhuri. Thapar later managed an ambassadorship in Afghanistan. It is said, Thapar's Kabul appointment papers were the last papers signed by Nehru. Kaul had to quit in disgrace; he was succeeded by Manekshaw as IV corps commander.

Thapar largely kept quiet with his ambassadorship, but Kaul could not be quietened. He wrote two books, both of which he used for taking potshots at Choudhuri and Manekshaw.
One charge against Kaul then was that he had never commanded a battalion. Kaul's reply in his book The Untold Story is that so didn't Manekshaw. Kaul's hatred for Manekshaw is clear even in the account where he says Manekshaw was building quarters for soldiers in Jammu, though he had not agreed to the proposal. "He 'acquiesced', instead of refusing to let his troops build, and had taken to it like a duck to water, bidding adieu to his aversions on the subject."

Kaul's second book, Confrontation with Pakistan, was about the 1965 war, now referred to by Gohar. Since Kaul had little to say about Choudhuri and Manekshaw's conduct during the 1965 war, he refers to them in the context of the 1948 Kashmir war, when Sir Roy Bucher was the commander-in-chief; Choudhuri his DMO and Manekshaw the latter's staff officer. Kaul refers to them as Bucher's men and "both served their master well in key appointments at army headquarters, running the Kashmir war between them. Bucher was Manekshaw's guest in the chief of army staff's house in Delhi for quite sometime (with government permission) early in 1970."

Kaul's boss Thapar has not expressed his antipathy towards Manekshaw in public, but he was known to be Menon's favourite for being pliable. (Menon hated Manekshaw who told him that he would not give any opinion about his chief Thimayya whom also Menon hated.) As D.R. Mankekar wrote in The Guilty Men of 1962, "it was apparent that General Thapar's greatest qualification for the post of the chief of army staff was his malleability-unlike Thorat whom Menon considered 'uppity'. Menon hoped that a man with such unspectacular service record would be beholden to him for being made the army chief and eat out of his hands." During his tenure, Thapar is said to have deliberately-or on instructions from Menon-sidelined Manekshaw. But even Menon found Thapar useless. So much so that once Menon remarked to Mankekar that Thapar did not even know the places in NEFA.
Anyway, Thapar has the distinction of being the only Army chief who had to quit in disgrace. And Manekshaw has the distinction of having been the most successful chief ever.
What many Army officers want to know is: Why is General P.N. Thapar's son now interviewing people who are willing to throw dirt on Manekshaw?


This is from a blog

Karan Thapar

Karan Thapar's Hatchet Job on Sam Bahadur

Published Sunday, May 20, 2007 by Mihir | E-mail this post
The sight of Indian mediawallahs going ga-ga over "flamboyant" and "dashing" Pakistani Generals is hardly anything new. But when Karan Thapar joined the bandwagon, it came as a bit of a surprise to me. Because Thapar is no fool, or so I used to believe. His interviews with politicians and other big wigs are at times, simply brilliant. So when he readily bought into Gohar Ayub Khan's ludicrous allegations about Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw being a Pakistani spy, I smelled a rat. Calling Ayub an "officer and a gentleman", and going weak in the knees at how "dashing" and "suave" he was, was certainly not what I expected from this "aggressive interviewer". Was this the same Karan Thapar who had taken Arjun Singh and Renuka Chaudhary to the cleaners? If so, why were there no tough questions doubting Gohar's credibility? After all, he is known for being corrupt to the core, and is regarded as something of a joke in his own country. Why was this one statement, "Why would a man lie to his own diary" the only proof Thapar needed to believe in what is an obvious attempt to sell a rag nobody would otherwise have given a second look? Why did he not notice how, if Pakistan lost in spite of having access to India's war plans, Ayub was nothing but a blithering idiot? On the other hand, why was he baiting Field Marshal Manekshaw relentlessly? It almost seemed that he had a score to settle. This piece in "The Week" by R Prasanan cleared things up.

The troubling fact is that, though no one in India has ever accused Manekshaw of being a traitor, many have been jealous of his rise through the 1960s. The Army Headquarters in the 1960s was virtually divided into two groups, as has been brought out in the various accounts of the 1962 and 1965 operations. Nehru's defence minister Krishna Menon was grooming his own coterie, the most prominent among whom was B.M. Kaul whom he appointed commander of IV corps in the east. Menon also appointed the pliable Gen. P.N. Thapar to succeed K.S. Thimayya (whom Menon hated) as Army chief.

Thimayya's favourites-mainly Lt-Gen. S.P.P. Thorat, J.N. Choudhuri and Manekshaw-were sidelined during the Thapar-Kaul days. Thorat, who was a contender for the chief's post against Thapar, retired as a lieutenant-general. Thapar and Kaul also tried to block Manekshaw's promotion by instituting a frivolous inquiry against him.

The fortunes of Choudhuri and Manekshaw looked up after the Thapar-Kaul duo goofed up the 1962 war. Thapar resigned forthwith, and was succeeded as chief by Choudhuri. Thapar later managed an ambassadorship in Afghanistan. It is said, Thapar's Kabul appointment papers were the last papers signed by Nehru. Kaul had to quit in disgrace; he was succeeded by Manekshaw as IV corps commander.

So there we have it! Thapar does have a bone to pick with Field Marshal Manekshaw! He makes it a point to mention that he is a general's son. What he conveniently leaves out, is the fact that he is the son of an officer who was popular with the likes of V.K. Krishna Menon for obvious reasons. An officer whose incompetence probably lost India the 1962 war against China. An officer who had tried to create hurdles in the way of Manekshaw's promotion. As Prasanan rightly points out, "Thapar has the distinction of being the only Army chief who had to quit in disgrace. And Manekshaw has the distinction of having been the most successful chief ever."
Karan Thapar fails to see the irony in the words he uses to describe Ayub Khan – "As a general's son I can tell you they don't make them like this any more!" Good thing too, Mr. Thapar! If they don't make them like your father anymore, India is surely in good hands!

Last Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal's letter to hindustantimes rubishing Karan thapar..

MEDIA WATCH:On Karan Thapar's Vilification of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

Gurmeet Kanwal

Normally print and TV media do stellar work in the national interest by exposing corruption, financial scams, fake killings and other wrongdoings by politicians, officials and policemen. However, sometimes the freedom of speech that India's Constitution guarantees to all its citizens is shamelessly exploited by small-minded media persons to settle personal scores. The vilification campaign launched by Karan Thapar on TV and in print over the last two weeks is a clear case in point.

Karan Thapar's tirades against Field Marshal Manekshaw (on CNN-IBN and in the Hindustan Times) are quite obviously motivated by ulterior considerations and smack of personal vendetta. Manekshaw was without doubt the finest COAS that the Indian army has ever had. He led the Indian army to its greatest victory. The creation of Bangladesh was by all accounts India's finest hour. By contrast, Karan Thapar's own father, General P N Thapar, was a weak leader and led the Indian army to a humiliating defeat against China. As and when the Henderson Brooks-Prem Bhagat report on the 1962 debacle is made public, the truth will finally emerge.

Thapar began his campaign by getting Lt Gen J F R Jacob to claim in a TV interview that he (Gen Jacob) had engineered the fall of Dhaka and that Field Marshal Manekshaw and Lt Gen J S Aurora had never planned to take the fight to Dhaka. The questions were provocative and meant to elicit the response that the interviewer wanted. Subsequently, Thapar gave full play to a silly old fool like Gohar Ayub Khan who has gone to outrageous lengths to sell his third-rate book. Khan claims that an Indian Brigadier who was the DMO in the 1950s had given with military secrets to Pakistan for Rs 20,000. This frivolous claim had already been debunked one year ago. K. Subrahmanyam has written that even if the claim is true, it is likely to have been part of an Indian deception plan. By giving Khan an opportunity to imply on national TV that Field Marshal Manekshaw had let down his country, Thapar has acted most irresponsibly and has brought shame to India. The fact that he did it with a smirk on his face and a gleam in his eye makes the disgraceful act even more distasteful and slimy.

Instead of belittling himself by casting aspersions on Manekshaw's unimpeachable integrity, Thapar should take some time off and read some military history about the goings on in Army HQ during the 1962 war and his father's ignominious role in it. He should then contrast that sordid episode with Manekshaw's handling of the 1971 war and his exemplary conduct since then over a period of 35 years. Perhaps the experience will teach him to put in some effort into researching his subjects before firing loose volleys and harming the reputation of those who have served the nation in the dirt and grime of war trenches and laid their lives on the line over and over again.

Thapar is a rude and arrogant interviewer and is so aggressive that he shakes and rattles those who choose to subject themselves to his Gestapo-like interrogation. He puts off viewers completely with his antics. It would be in the public interest to launch a campaign to restrain Thapar from misusing the liberty normally given to a columnist by respected newspapers and leading TV channels by indulging in settling old scores.

Gurmeet Kanwal
Senior Fellow
Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)
P-284, Arjan Path, Subroto Park
New Delhi 110010, India
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
Web: www.aerospaceindia.org

And last but not the least this was the the hindu interviewThat karan thapar did of Gen.Jacob that Bir.Gurmeet kanwal talked about in his letter.....

Taking Dhaka did not figure in Manekshaw's plans: General Jacob

In CNBC's `India Tonight' programme broadcast on April 30,Karan Thapar presented an interview withLieutenant-General J.F.R. Jacob, who was Chief of Staff of the Indian Army's Eastern Command during the Bangladesh campaign of 1971, in the context of the Government's decision to give Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw back pay for the period since his retirement more than 36 years ago. There is a particular focus here on his role, as well as General Jacob's role, in the Bangladesh campaign. This is an edited version of the transcript:


General J.F.R. Jacob: "Sam [Manekshaw] unfortunately had a very short experience of war. He was wounded in the early stages of war; unfortunately he was not able to command a battalion.
Karan Thapar: Recently the Government gave Field Marshal Manekshaw a cheque for Rs.1.6 crore in lieu of the salary he should have received as Field Marshal over the last 36 years. In 1971 when he was made Field Marshal, was he treated fairly or shabbily?

General Jacob: I think the Government was less than generous. He went out on a pension of Rs.1,300 — that was Rs.100 more than [that of] the Chief [of the Army Staff]... [He] told me he had... [met] Mrs. Gandhi and asked to be made Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, which she declined. Instead she offered him the high commissionership in one of the Commonwealth countries, and he was very upset.

In fact, when Manekshaw visited Calcutta after retirement — by then you were the Army Commander in Calcutta — he didn't even have a car and you put one at his disposal. But Jagjivan Ram, Defence Minister, ticked you off for that.

Yes, he did.

Your association with Manekshaw goes back to 1950 when he was a Brigadier and DMO [Director of Military Operations] and you were a Major attached to General Staff in Delhi. He used to consult you a lot in those days, didn't he?

Yes, I used to go fairly often to his house. He was generous and hospitable to me and he used to discuss matters with me. You see, Sam unfortunately had a very short experience of war. He was wounded in the early stages of war; unfortunately he was not able to command a battalion, so he used to call me in for discussions.

You next served with Manekshaw in 1961. He was at that time the Commandant of the Staff College at Wellington and you were a member of the teaching staff. At the time Manekshaw was accused of anti-national activities and a court of inquiry was appointed to investigate the matter. And you were asked to give evidence.

That's correct, I was rung up by General Kaul, offered anything if I gave evidence. I refused to give evidence. It's not my wont and my character to give evidence against my boss. I refused.

But were you, in refusing to give evidence, protecting Manekshaw?

I consider that is not done for me to give evidence against my boss. Had I done so, it would have caused difficulties for Manekshaw.

In other words, you are saying had you given evidence, had you spoken about things you knew of — instead of being exonerated as Manekshaw was, he could have been found guilty?

I don't think so. All I can say is, he might have created some problem.

At the time, if I recall correctly, the speculation was that Manekshaw had the habit of talking loosely. People say that he would go around referring to Indians dismissively as natives and that in public frequently, sitting at Wellington Club, he would criticise politicians like V.K. Krishna Menon, or General Kaul. You were honorary secretary of the Wellington Club. Was there some credibility to these stories?

I can't comment on that.

Let's come to the 1971 war, for which Manekshaw is best known. At that time you were Chief of Staff, Eastern Command. It is widely believed that Manekshaw stood up to pressure from politicians and as a result military action was delayed from April 1971 to December. But that's not the real truth, is it?

Well, put [it] this way, he did ring me three times in early April to move to Bangladesh. I refused, I gave him reasons... I told him, look, we are mountain divisions. We don't have a single bridge. There are large numbers of rivers between us to cross. We don't have transport. The monsoon is about to break. And international penal [action] will not let you move. So these are the reasons we cannot move. I told him: [I'm] afraid it's not possible at this stage.

Two things: first of all, the reasons you had — and obviously they were good reasons — for not moving in April were reasons he had never thought of or appreciated as the Army chief.

I can't comment on what he thought.

But clearly that follows that he was pushing you to move in, he rung you three times, was irritated by your refusal.

But his people in Delhi pushed him.

Secondly, you also pointed out to him that if the Army moved in April, it would have been disastrous?

Yes, it would have been, because we [would have] got bogged down.

So the truth is, people say Manekshaw stood up to political pressure and delayed military action from April to December. The full truth is that he did this because the Eastern Command stood up to him on three separate occasions, otherwise he might have agreed to the pressure he was under.

Yes, maybe after he got our advice he went to the Cabinet and told them `No.'

Let's now come to the war plan... As Chief of Staff, Eastern Command, you sent your version of the plan to Delhi in May. What was the strategy that plan was based upon?

We assessed that to win a war we had to take Dhaka. Dhaka was the geo-strategic heart of East Pakistan. No campaign would have been complete without it.

In August, Manekshaw came to Calcutta where the Eastern Command has its headquarters, where you were Chief of Staff. He came with [his] own war plan. How different was that to yours?

It was very, very different. The orders that come with him, which he read out with his DMO, K.K. Singh, were: You will take Khulna and Chittagong — these are the entry points — and territory...

I gathered [that] at that meeting in Calcutta there was a sort of acrimonious exchange of opinions. You fairly forcefully pointed out to Manekshaw that not taking Dhaka, not focussing on Dhaka, was a serious mistake. How did he react to your views?

He was very upset... He said, don't you see if we take Khulna and Chittagong the war will be over? I said I didn't see how that could happen.

At that point he turned to General Aurora, who was there and who was your boss and army commander. And what did he say to General Aurora?

Don't you agree? Yes, sir, I entirely agree, said General Aurora.

So the nub of this is that ultimately when India went to war in December, it went to war with a war plan which completely ignored Dhaka?

That's correct. That was the recommendation given to the Government by Manekshaw.

Let's jump to the weeks immediately before the military action in December... Manekshaw refused to give you troops to tackle Dhaka because he refused to make Dhaka a part of the war plan. You moved three brigades from the Chinese border for this purpose. What did he say when he found out?

He was furious. And you see... I told... Gill who was the DMO... it was done between us... and [he] agreed with me to take Dhaka. Manekshaw was not informed of the move of these brigades and he was absolutely furious with Gill. He told him that he would... and that the brigades would move back at once.

But the brigades didn't move back.

I spoke to Gill and we had a long chat and I said I cannot move these brigades back... I expected that I would be given permission once the war started... but permission was denied for five days... I requested every day for their deployment but they were not cleared to move in by Manekshaw until December 8.

Had you got that permission five days earlier, could you have taken Dhaka five days earlier?

We would not have taken Dhaka, but would have surely speeded up the fall of Dhaka.

Am I right in believing that when war began by December 2-3-4, the plan was to go for Khulna and Chittagong, but you ignored it and instead you went straight to Dhaka, which you always believed was the right thing to do?

That's correct.

Let's jump the story to December 13. At that point in time, the Indian Army had bypassed towns like Rangpur, Dinajpur and Sylhet and had reached the gates of Dhaka. Which meant that you were virtually at the doorstep of the capital, but you had no major towns under your control except for Jessore and Comilla which the Pakistanis had evacuated and you had occupied.


At this point in time, [there] was a great fear that India might be forced to accept a ceasefire and that if that happened [would be left] without major towns under its control?... The U.N. was in session, and if that had happened without any major town under its control the ceasefire would be very disadvantageous to India...


General Manekshaw sent you an order, copied to the Corps Commanders, asking you to capture all the bypassed towns. How did you respond to that order?

Except Dhaka. Dhaka was not mentioned.

So he wanted all the towns that had been bypassed to be captured, but once again ignored Dhaka?

No mention was made whatsoever. You can't capture a town, it takes a long time...

So you therefore ignored his orders?

Well, there is an example in history. Horatio Nelson putting the telescope to his blind eye.

So had General Manekshaw's signal of December 13 been accepted, that could have endangered India's great victory?

Well, I put it differently that it would have delayed the proceedings.

You haven't got the credit for the surrender that you organised almost single-handedly. Has history been unfair to you?

No, I'm not commenting on that... I as a soldier did my duties, that's not my concern.

Today you have cast Gen, Manekshaw, Field Marshal Manekshaw as he is, in a very different light to the way we've got used to thinking of him. You have suggested that the orders that he gave, particularly on changing the direction of military strategy, were wrong. You also suggested things about him when he was in his earlier post at Wellington that people will find hard to believe. You want to retract any other things you said?

Listen, I have not suggested anything. You asked me questions and I have answered them to the best of my ability... I stand by what I said... all the things [relating to] the order for the operation are in Army Headquarters.

(For a detailed version of the edited transcript log on to www.hindu.com/nic/karan-gen-jacob.htm)
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Regular Member
Oct 27, 2009
thanks ajtr i can say todays hunger and condition of defence modernisation is due to nehrus socialist policies


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Truth of '62 is locked away

Forty five years ago to the day, the Zhou Enlai government offered the Indian charge d' affairs in Beijing, P.K. Bannerjee, a humiliating ceasefire to end the month-long 1962 conflict across the 4,000 kilometre-long, mountainous border. Although the war officially ended two days later, the psychological scars it caused still remain rooted in the Indian mindset. Symbolic of this manifestation is the Henderson Brookes-P.S. Bhagat Report on the operational aspects of the 1962 conflagration, which lies buried in the vaults of South Block since it was submitted to the Nehru government in May 1963.
Prepared between December 1962 and May 1963, only one copy of this three-volume report exists today and the authors, as well as all the major players except the then director, Military Operations, D.K. Palit, have passed away. Yet successive governments at the Centre have adopted a "let the past bury its dead" attitude — the BJP-led NDA included. There has been no attempt to make public this three-volume report (one dealing with operations, the other two, with maps/annexures) in its fading yellow binding.

As if the Report symbolises the shame of the nation, it has been tucked away in a series of lockers inside the defence secretary's office, and can only be accessed through a series of keys and not-so-forthcoming permission. Even though the paper of this typed report is yellow and brittle with age, there has been no attempt to either keep a photocopy of it or make it public. Perhaps the political rulers and the military establishment want this report to self-destruct or simply fade out of the public mind. But it is crucial for India that its contents be made public. It could lead to a much-needed collective catharsis over the 1962 defeat. It is time the public knew exactly what happened when political leaders played Napolean with pliant generals as their subservient sidekicks.

The Brookes-Bhagat Report is, in fact, a scathing indictment of the then prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his then defence minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, for a poorly strategised "forward policy" towards Tibet and interference in the Indian army's operational affairs. The report is raw in its verbal expression. It minces no words in criticising then army chief, General P.N. Thapar, his then newly-created Tezpur Corps commander, B.M. Kaul, the then director, Military Operations, D.K. Palit, and a host of other army officers in the conduct of war operations. Laced with quotes from victorious generals from the west and quotes from leading war strategists, it is also harsh on then director, Intelligence Bureau, B.N. Mullick.

It is not for scoring points in a Parliament debate that this report must be made public, but for the Indian establishment to overcome its defensive mindset towards China which remains to this day. It is nobody's case that India should start flexing its muscles on the Line of Actual Control or be bitter about the past. Simply put, India's management of its relations with China should be firmly rooted on ground reality and not on illusions of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai. But the facts are to the contrary. The Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi, recently patted the Indian government for sending written instructions to its Cabinet ministers not to attend any function of the Dalai Lama. While he has openly said that Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh are coveted by China, his consul-general in Mumbai took on the senior-most minister in the government last year over the latter's interpretation of the 1962 war.

If this is the attitude of small-time career diplomats, one can well understand the mental framework of the Chinese leadership towards India. Despite this, the Manmohan Singh government still stands accused by the Left — some of whose leaders had sided openly and unapologetically with China over 1962 — of collaborating with Americans to encircle China. In fact, the political debate over the Indo-US nuclear deal is about how India is either being used by America or China or Russia, as if India is not confident enough to act independently in its own interest.

The overall trade China has with the SAARC nations stands at $9 billion; India's with SAARC countries comes second with $7 billion. China has an overall trade of $160 billion with ASEAN countries, as compared to India's $30 billion. Yet it is New Delhi that is seen to be building economic leverage in an effort to encircle Beijing and not the other way round.

The India-China Special Representative dialogue on the boundary dispute is a work in progress, Chinese incursions into the Indian side of the LAC have become frequent and the exercise to exchange the western sector maps has been put on the back-burner. In the meantime, China has tripled its military deployment capability in Tibet through the new railroad to Lhasa and road infrastructure to the Indian border. The only positive out of this is that India-China trade now stands at over $20 billion. It is time that New Delhi got out of its defensive mindset and built up infrastructure and capability to deal with any situation that may possibly be thrown up by China. A step in this direction would be to identify the vital areas on the Indian side of the LAC, and build presence and capability through road infrastructure and revival of the advanced landing grounds that are lying in disuse since the border conflict.

Remember the idea is to be confident and not subservient or complacent towards our northern neighbour. But this can only happen if Indian strategists overcome the scars of 1962. This is illustrated by a meeting of the hush-hush China Study Group in 2004, when the Indian army opposed the plan of constructing 12 strategic roads in Arunchal Pradesh, saying that these would be used by Chinese Peoples Liberation Army to come into India. At this point, the then home secretary testily told the then director-general, Military Operations, that if the army was so afraid of meeting the PLA on the foothills, it should prepare to meet it in Delhi.

It is this need for clarity that demands the Brookes-Bhagat Report to be made public. It could ensure that the 1962 failure gets translated into some positive action. In the late eighties, then minister of state for defence, Arun Singh, tried unsuccessfully to ask the defence secretary, S.K. Bhatnagar, to lend the Report to the army chief, General K. Sundarji, so that he could read it, but to no avail. In 1997, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, N.N. Vohra, was successful in accessing the Report, with a deputy secretary of the defence ministry waiting inside his office to ensure that there was no attempt made at photocopying it!

The consequences of this policy of denial is clear: the true history of 1962 war will remain buried. It will be the Chetan Anand film or some coloured war accounts of then serving generals which will serve as the public record of that war, unless the 'Haqeeqat' of the Brookes-Bhagat Report emerges.


Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Some good Archives on Indo-china relations and 1962 war.Rear particularly documents and letters pertaining to Sardar Patel's views on china and tibet.You will be astonished to know how true he was.......When Nehru was doing his hindi-chini bhai bhai and great cicilization thing Sardar patel has warned him long back in 1950s about the chinese betrayal.These archive are in pdf files are treasure of knowledge as these are some of the archival official papers on indo-china relations.All links are must read for anyone who want to know 1962 debacle something more than the newspapers articles based on fuzzy hearsay.

Selected documents on Indo-China Relations

The Sino-Indian Border Dispute Section 1: 1950-59 (CIA Papers)
The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers Cold War Era Hard Target Analysis of Soviet and Chinese Policy and Decision Making, 1953-1973
This collection of declassified analytic monographs and reference aids, designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO series, highlights the CIA's efforts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations. The documents reflect the views of seasoned analysts who had followed closely their special areas of research and whose views were shaped in often heated debate. Continuing public interest in the series, as reflected in numerous requests through Freedom of Information and Executive Order channels, led CIA's Office of Information Management Services (IMS) to conduct a search of Directorate of Intelligence record systems for documents in this series and then undertake a declassification review of all the documents we located.

The Sino-Indian Border Dispute Section 2: 1959-61 (CIA Papers)
The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers Cold War Era Hard Target Analysis of Soviet and Chinese Policy and Decision Making, 1953-1973.
The Sino-Indian Border Dispute Section 3: 1961-62 (CIA Papers)
The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers Cold War Era Hard Target Analysis of Soviet and Chinese Policy and Decision Making, 1953-1973
An Introduction to the Henderson Brooks Report - 2001
Reproduced here is British author Neville Maxwell's summary of what he believes the Henderson Brooks Report contains. This article first appeared in the Economic Political Weekly.
Foreign Relations of the United States, the South Asia Crisis - 1971
Foreign Relations of the United States, Volume XI, 1969-1976 Declassified US documenst on the Bangladesh War.
Nehru to Gopal Singh - May 1963
It is not clear to me what we can do about Tibet in the present circumstances... we are unable to do anything effective about it...
Official History of 1962 War
Link to the Official History of the 1962 Indo-China War.
Border Talks between India & China - 1960
Notes on the five sessions of border talks between India and China in 1960.
On China & Tibet - April 4, 1959
Transcript of Prime Minister's press conference on China and Tibet held on 4 April 1959 in New Delhi.
Nehru-Zhou Enlai talks on Tibet - January 1957
References on Tibet during talks between Jawaharlal Nehru and Chou En-lai in January 1957.
An Historical Note of the Frontier - November 1959
An historical background of the Himalayan Frontier of India to understand the border issue.
Talks Mao Nehru in Beijing- October 1954
Transcript of the talks between Mao Zedung, Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru when the Indian Prime Minister visited Beijing in October 1954.
Visit of Zhou Enlai to Delhi - June 1954
Transcript of the talks between Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai when the latter visited New Delhi.
The Panchsheel Agreement - April 29, 1954
Agreement between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China on Trade and Intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India or Pancheel Agreement
Message from Nehru to Zhou En-lai - September 1953
Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to Zhou Enlai offering negotiations on the pending issues between India and China. It will result five months later in the Panchsheel Agreement.
Mother India Editorial - November 25, 1950
Interesting Editorial of Mother India on Tibet's invasion.
Policy regarding China and Tibet - November 18, 1950
On November 1950, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru drafted a long note on the Tibet policy of the Government of India. It was an indirect reply to Sardar Patel's letter on Tibet.
Letter from Patel to Nehru regarding Tibet - November 7, 1950
Prophetic letter of Sardar Patel to Nehru highlighting the consequences of the invasion of Tibet for India.
Sardar Patel on Tibet - November 1950
Letter from Sardar Patel to Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai about Tibet and interview in The Hindustan Times..
Exchange of notes on the invasion of Tibet - November 1950
The Governments of India and China exchanged a series of notes after the Chinese invasion of Tibet.
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Tihar Jail
Oct 2, 2009
Letter from Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vhallabhbhai Patel to Prime Minister Jahawarlal Nehru

New Delhi
7 November 1950
My dear Jawaharlal,
1. Ever since my return from Ahmedabad and after the cabinet
meeting the same day which I had to attend practically at 15
minutes' notice and for which I regret I was not able to read all the
papers, I have been anxiously thinking over the problem of Tibet
and thought I should share with you what is passing through my
2. I have carefully gone through the correspondence between the
External Affairs Ministry and our Ambassador in Peking and through
him the Chinese Government. I have tried to peruse this
correspondence as favorably to our Ambassador and the Chinese
Government as possible, but I regret to say that neither of them
comes out well as a result of this study. The Chinese Government
has tried to delude us by professions of peaceful intention. My own
feeling is that at a crucial period they manage to instill into our
Ambassador a false sense of confidence in their so called desire to
settle the Tibetan problem by peaceful means. There can be no
doubt that during the period covered by this correspondence the
Chinese must have been concentrating for an onslaught on Tibet.
The rival action of the Chinese, in my judgment, is little short of
perfidy The tragedy of it is that the Tibetans put faith in us; they
choose to be guided by us; and we have been unable to get them
out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or Chinese malevolence.
From the latest position, it appears that we shall be not be able to
rescue the Dalai Lama. Our Ambassador has been at great pain to
find an explanation or justification for Chinese policy and actions. As
the External Affairs Ministry remarked in one of their telegrams,
there "'as a lack of firmness and unnecessary apology in one or two
representations that he made to the Chinese Government on our
behalf. It is impossible to imagine any sensible person believing in
the so-called threat to China from Anglo-American diplomacy or
strategy. This feeling, if genuinely entertained by the Chinese in
spite of your direct approaches to them, indicates that even though
we regard ourselves as friends of China. the Chinese do not regard
us as their friends. With the Communist mentality of 'whoever is
not with them being against them," this is a significant pointer. of
which we have to take due note. During the last several months
outside the Russian camp, we have practically been alone in
championing the cause of Chinese entry into UN and in securing
from the Americans assurances on the question of Formosa. We
have done everything we could to assuage Chinese feelings, to allay
its apprehensions and to defend us legitimate claims in our
discussions and correspondence with America and Britain and in the
UN. In spite of this China is not convinced about our
disinterestedness; it continues to regard us with suspicion and the
whole psychology is one, at least outwardly, of skepticism perhaps
mixed with a little hostility. I doubt if we can go any further than we
have done already to convince China of our good intentions,
friendliness and goodwill. In Peking we have an Ambassador who is
eminently suitable for putting across die friendly point of view Even
he seems to have failed to convert the Chinese. Their last telegram
to us is an act of gross discourtesy not only in the summary way it
disposes of our protest against the entry of Chinese forces into Tibet
but also in the wild insinuation that our attitude is determined by
foreign influences. It looks as though it is not a friend speaking in
that language but a potential enemy.
(How true Sardar Patel was of chinese intentions)
3. In the background of this. We have to consider what new situation
now faces us as a result of the disappearance of Tibet, as we knew
it, and the expansion of China almost up to our gates. Throughout
history we have seldom been worried about our North-East frontier.
The Himalayas have been regarded as an impenetrable barrier
against any threat from the North. We had friendly Tibet which gave
us no trouble. The Chinese were divided. They had their own
domestic problems and never bothered us about our frontiers. In
1914, we entered into a convention with Tibet which was not
endorsed by the Chinese. We seem to have regarded Tibetan
autonomy's extending to independent treaty relationship.
presumably, all that we required was Chinese counter The Chinese
interpretation of suzerainty seems to be different. We can,
therefore, safely assume that very soon they will disown all the
stipulations which Tibet has entered into with us in die past. That
throws into die melting pot all frontier and commercial settlements
with Tibet on which we have been functioning and acting during the
last half a century. China is no longer divided. It is united and
strong. All along the Himalayas in the North and North-East we have
on our side of the frontier a population ethnologically and culturally
not different from Tibetans and Mongoloids. The undefined state of
the frontier and the existence on our side of a population with its
affinities to the Tibetans or Chinese have all the elements of the
potential trouble between China and ourselves. Recent and bitter
history also tells us that communism is no shield against imperialism
and that the communist arc as good or as had imperialist as any
other. Chinese ambitions in this respect not only covered the
Himalayan slopes on our side hut also include the important part of
Assam. They have their ambitions in Burma also. Burma has the
added difficulty that it has no McMahon Line round which to build up
even the semblance of an agreement. Chinese irredentism and
communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or
imperialism of the Western powers. The former has a clock of
ideology which makes it ten times more dangerous. In the guise of
ideological expansion lie concealed racial. national or historical
claims. The danger from the North and North-East, therefore.
becomes both communist and imperialist. While our Western and
North-Western threat to security is still as prominent as before, a
new threat has developed from the North and North-East. Thus, for
the first time, after centuries, India's defense has to concentrate
itself on two fronts simultaneously. Our defense measures have so
far been based on the calculations of superiority over Pakistan. In
our calculations we shall now have to reckon with Communist China
in the North and in the North-East, a Communist China which has
definite ambitions and aims and which does not, in any way, seem
friendly disposed towards us.
4. Let us also consider the political conditions on this potentially
troublesome frontier. Our Northern and North-Eastern approaches
consist of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim. the Darjeeling (Area) and tribal
areas in Assam. From the point of view of communication, there are
weak spots. Continuous defensive lines do not seem to be fully
manned. The contact of these areas with us is by no means close
and intimate. The people inhabiting these portions have no
established loyalty or devotion to India even the Darjeeling and
Kalimpong areas arc not free from pro-Mongoloid prejudices. During
the last three years we have not been able to make any appreciable
approaches to the Nagas and other hill tribes in Assam. European
missionaries and other visitors had been in touch with them, but
their influence was in no way friendly to India/Indians. In .Sikkim
there was political ferment some time ago. It is quite possible this
discontent is smoldering there. Bhutan is comparatively quiet, but
its affinity with Tibetans would be a handicap Nepal has a weak
oligarchic regime based almost entirely on force; it is in conflict with
a turbulent element of the population as well with an enlightened
ideas of the modern age. In these circumstances to make people
alive to the new danger or to make them defensively strong is a
very difficult task indeed and that difficult can be over only by
enlightened firmness, strength and ii clear line of policy I am sure
the Chinese and their source of inspiration, Soviet Russia would not
miss any opportunity of exploiting these weak spots, partly in
support of their ideology' and partly in support of their ambitions. In
my judgement, the situation is one which we can not afford either to
be complacent or to be vacillating. We must have a clear idea of
what we wish to achieve and also of the methods by which 'we
should achieve it. Any faltering or lack of decisiveness in formulating
our objectives or in pursuing our policies to attain those objectives is
bound to weaken us and increase the threats which are so evident.
5. Side by side with these external dangers, we shall now have to face
serious internal problems as well. I have already asked (HVR)
lyengar to send to the F.A. Ministry a copy of the Intelligence
Bureau's appreciation of these matters. Hitherto, the Communist
Part" of India has found some difficulty in contacting communists
abroad, or in getting supplies of arms, literature, etc. from them.
They had to contend with the difficult Burmese and Pakistan
frontiers on the East with the long sea board. They shall now have a
comparatively easy means of access to Chinese communists and
through them to other foreign communists. Infiltration of spies, fifth
columnists and communists would now be easier. Instead of having
to deal with isolated communist pockets and Telengana and
Warangal we may have to deal communist threats to our security
along our Northern and North-eastern frontiers where, for supplies
of arms and ammunition, they can safely depend on communist
arsenals in China. The whole situation thus raises a number of
problems on which we must come to early decision so that we can,
as I said earlier, formulate the objectives of our policy and decide
the method by which those objectives are to be attained. It Is also
clear that the action will have to be fairly comprehensive, involving
not only our defense strategy and state of preparations but also
problem of internal security to deal with which we have not a
moment to lose. We shall also have to deal with administrative and
political problem in the weak spots along the frontier to which I have
already referred.
6. It is of course. impossible to be exhaustive in setting out all these
problems. I am. however giving below some of the problems \which
in my opinion. require early solution and round which we have to
build our administrative or military policies and measures to
implement them.
��A Military and Intelligence appreciation of the Chinese threat to
India both on the frontier and internal security.
��An examination of military position and such redisposition of
our forces as might be necessary, particularly with the idea of
guarding important routes or areas which are likely to be the
subject of dispute.
��An appraisement of strength of our forces and. if necessary,
reconsideration of our retrenchment plans to the Army in the
light of the new threat. A long-term consideration of our
defense needs. My own feeling is that, unless we assure our
supplies of arms, am-munitions and armour, we should be
making a defense position perpetually weak and we would not
be able to stand up to the double threat of difficulties both
from the West and North-West and North and North-East.
��The question of Chinese entry into UNO. In view of rebuff with
China has given us and the method which it has followed in
dealing with Tibet, I am doubtful whether we can advocate its
claims any longer. There would probably be a threat in the
UNO virtually to outlaw China in view of its active participation
in Korean War. We must determine our attitude on this
question also.
�� The political and administrative steps which we should take to
strengthen our Northern and North-Eastern frontier. This
would include whole of border, i.e. Nepal, Bhutan. Sikkim.
Darjeeling and tribal territory of Assam.
�� Measure of internal security in the border areas as well as the
state flanking those areas such as U.P., Bihar, Bengal and
�� Improvement of our communication, road. rail. air and
wireless. ii, these areas and with the frontier outposts.
h- The future or our mission at Lhasa and the trade post of
Gyantse and Yatung and the forces which we have in
operation in Tibet guard in trade routes.
�� The policies in regards to McMahon Line.
These are some of the questions which occur to my mind. It is possible
that a consideration of these matters matter lead us into wider question of
our relationship with China, Russia. America, Britain and Burma. This,
however, would be of a general nature. though some might be basically
very important. i.e. we might have to consider whether we should not
enter into closer association with Burma in order to strengthen the latter
in its dealings with China. I do not rule out the possibility that, before
applying pressure on us, China might apply pressure on Burma. the
frontier is entirely undefined and the Chinese territorial claims are more
substantial. In its present position, Burma might offer an easier problem
to China, and, therefore, might claim its first attention.
I suggest that we meet early to have a general discussion on these
problems and decide on such steps as we might think to be immediately
necessary and direct, quick examination of other problems with a view of
taking early measure to deal with them.
Vallabhbhai Patel
The Hon'ble Shri Jawaharlal Nehru
New Delhi
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