Fifty years after the Sino-Indian war, Congress on Tuesday 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 defence 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 Defence 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.