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BJP trains guns on Cong over 1962 war report

March 19
03:26 2014

BJP trains guns on Cong over 1962 war reportNEW DELHI: Fifty years after the Sino- Indian war, Congress today battled it out with BJP over a report which is said to blame former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s “forward policy” for India’s defeat in the conflict amidst calls by the saffron outfit for the release of the top-secret document.

The two parties locked horns over the issue after an Australian journalist, who had covered the war in 1962, uploaded a portion of the Henderson Brooks report on his website.

“It (the report) holds Nehru responsible (for India’s defeat) and rightly so. The nation still feels the pain of that humiliation.

“BJP would like the entire report to be made public so that more than 50 years later, the nation finds out who did what wrong,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

While BJP claimed that there was a similarity between the 1962 debacle and the manner in which the UPA government had handled defense matters, particularly in terms of preparedess, Congress said that the rival party was playing cheap politics ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

Prasad said that the time had come for a debate as to who had secured the country more – Nehru or the first Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

He said that through their acts, Nehru and the then Defense Minister Krishna Menon had left the Indian armed forces to fend for themselves in a state of “complete unpreparedness”.

Supporting Prasad’s demand for the report to be made public, party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that would have a bearing on the upcoming polls.

“The fact remains that it will certainly tell a lot many things which are important for our institutional memory and (provide) lessons to be learnt,” she said.

The Henderson Brooks report is an analysis (operations review) of the 1962 war done by two officers of the Indian army – Lt Gen Henderson Brooks and Brig PS Bhagat, who were with the Indian Military Academy at the time.

The report was commissioned by the army following its crushing defeat by the Chinese.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar claimed that the report reveals that it is the same old story when it comes to Congress’s approach towards national security and defense preparedness.

“They (Congress government) did not take cognizance of their (Army’s) needs and therefore there was a gap not only in communication but in requirement and preparedness as well…

(due to which) India had to suffer a humiliating defeat,” he said.

Echoing BJP’s sentiments, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said that the lack of preparation had done the Army no good and the whole situation was “pathetic”.

“We did not have a roadlink between Srinagar and Leh until late 1961. We did not have road connectivity to any of the posts. We had only one brigade there when the army wanted two.

No armaments were supplied.

“Yet Nehru asked the army to have a forward policy. So the whole situation was pathetic at the time,” he said.

UPA ally NCP, however, sought to defend Nehru, saying that the former PM had himself admitted to his mistakes.

“The mistake was that he had reposed faith in the Chinese.

If we had held talks at the border, then it would have been better, but it did not happen,” said NCP’s DP Tripathi.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi reacted to the controversy by referring to the Kargil War during NDA rule in 1999.

“Much more” politics may be done today about Kargil war, which happened in contemporary India during NDA rule, but “I am not going to do it… (I) could ask you how intruders were allowed to enter India (in 1999) with all these new warships and new equipment.”

On such matters the nation stands together, Singhvi said, adding that, unlike BJP, Congress does not “do cheap politics on the eve of elections”.

“To try and play such cheap politics on the eve of elections shows the mindset of BJP,” he said.

“Everybody knows what happened in 1962 was a product of a complex multitude of factors,” Singhvi said.

To suggest that it be made into a “unilinear or unilateral factor” was to try to “miniaturize” things which were complex, he added. To a query, Singhvi said, “Certainly, there was lack of preparedness at some level. If you are a serious student of history, you could go into it. But to suggest that Nehru is to blame or Congress is to blame is cheap politicization.

“We have learnt a lot of lessons. We have come a long way and nobody dares to look us in the eye as some did in the 1960s. In 2014, we are a proud country despite the divisive tactics of BJP,” he said.

Another Congress leader, Rashid Ali, claimed that the report, the contents of which have come to light after 50 years, would have little impact.–PTI

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