Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday said the disclosure of the highly classified Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 Sino-Indian war “would not be in national interest”.
Jaitley’s latest stand is in complete contrast to the stand he and his party had taken when parts of the highly classified report were posted on the website of Naville Maxwell, the author of the book India’s China War, in February.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, “Government is aware of reports purporting to disclose part of the Henderson Brooks Report on the India-China war. This is a Top Secret document and has not been declassified so far. Further, release of this report, fully or partially or disclosure of any information related to this report would not be in national interest.”
The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report which criticises the then PM Jawaharlal Nehr-u’s forward policy believed to have resulted in the debacle during the 1962 Sino- Indian conflict has remained a classified document for over five decades. In February, when Maxwell posted about 120 pages of the report, the BJP, then in the run-up to the 2014 general elections, had seized the opportunity to target the ruling UPA. While the BJP leaders openly criticised the Congress-led government for protecting the Nehru-Gandhi family by not making public the contents of the report, Jaitley even wrote a blog to support his claim that the Henderson Brooks report be made public.
“Is it because these pages contain some material which can be embarrassing to those in power in 1962?” Jaitley had asked in his blog dated March 19 which is still on the BJP website. Referring to the pages Maxwell uploaded on his website, Jaitley had argued, “The first 111 pages having been made public, it is now necessary that the balance pages also be made public rather than allow public opinion be influenced by unauthentic sources. Was a Himalayan blunder of 1962 in fact a Nehruvian blunder?”