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Delhi kept its eyes closed to China threat in 1962, Army was not equipped to handle war, says Amarinder Singh

"The entire atmosphere in New Delhi was then of negation. Nobody was ready to believe Chinese invasion was imminent despite the signs being loud and clear," the Punjab CM said

By: PTI | Chandigarh |
December 9, 2017 9:31:28 pm
Amarinder Singh on 1962 India-China war Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the soldiers were, at one time, surviving on water and salt. (File Photo)

The Indian Army was not equipped to handle the 1962 Indo-China war, with New Delhi closing its eyes to the looming threat from Beijing, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh claimed on Saturday.

He called upon the present political establishment to ensure that the defence forces were fully prepared, “in view of the fresh signs of aggression from the country’s eastern border”. Blaming New Delhi for India’s humiliating defeat in 1962, Singh, according to an official release, said, “The entire atmosphere in New Delhi was then of negation, with nobody ready to believe that the Chinese invasion was imminent despite the signs being loud and clear.”

Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Sino-Indian Conflict 1962’ on the concluding day of the Military Literature Festival, Singh said, in response to a question, that the war ended the way everyone had expected it to end. Pinning the blame for the defeat on the government’s policy and the alleged complete intelligence failure, the CM said India did not go into the battle with adequate preparation.

“…the political masters in Delhi put men of their choice in key positions, with even the Corps Commander handpicked by the government based not on competence but as a personal favour,” said Singh, a former Army officer. “It was a chaotic scenario, which ended as anyone would have expected it to end,” he said.

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“The Indian soldiers were ill-equipped to fight, with no arms and ammunition, and in fact without rations and warm clothes to fight,” the 75-year-old two-time CM claimed, recalling that the soldiers were, at one time, surviving on water and salt. He said that though trends have changed, so has the style of Army’s functioning, and the current situation at the border with China continued to be as volatile as it was in 1962.

“It is up to the government at the Centre to ensure that our soldiers are properly equipped to counter the fresh threat,” he added. “The 1962 war was a wake-up call for India, which should learn its lessons from the mistakes committed then,” he said.

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