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.
Henderson Brooks–Bhagat Report summary by Neville Maxwell
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.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.
Henderson Brooks–Bhagat Report summary by Neville Maxwell
Henderson Brooks Report: An Introduction
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.