That Nehru was naive with Chou en Lai, vacillating and a puppet in the hands of V.K.Krishna Menon, people are aware.
This new evidence is shocking.
“There is no reason why the Indian Army cannot rise again and give a much better account of itself. I hope when the day comes, it happens under my escutcheon.
This was what Gen J N Chaudhuri wrote in a 40-page covering note while forwarding the Henderson Brooks-PS Bhagat report on the 1962 military debacle to the Defence Ministry…
The report was commissioned by Gen Chaudhuri, who took over as Army Chief after the war, as an internal Army report to look into just the conduct of military operations since hostilities began in early October 1962 till November 20 when China announced a unilateral ceasefire.
For the job, he picked Lt Gen Henderson Brooks who was GOC 11 Corps in Jalandhar and had not participated in the operations. The report was submitted in April 1963 and sent to the Defence Ministry with Chaudhuri’s detailed covering note….
Coming down heavily on the military leadership, the report is particularly critical of the then Chief of General Staff Lt Gen B M Kaul, who was made GOC of the newly created 4 Corps just before the war. He was based out of Tezpur, but was evacuated to Delhi on account of illness just as hostilities broke out in what was then called NEFA.
The report records him “dashing in and out” of his York Road (now Motilal Nehru Marg) residence, issuing orders from his bed, and the top brass letting him do so instead of finding a successor. These have all been cited as examples of poor generalship.
Similarly, a copy Kaul’s letter to Nehru at the height of the conflict, urging him to approach the Americans for assistance, has been mentioned and included in the annexures to underscore the loss of nerves among senior officers.
Significant space, sources said, has been given to the retreat of 4 Infantry Division which had been quickly reconstructed after the Namka Chu defeat and posted to defend the fallback line along the Se La-Senge-Dhirang axis in Arunachal Pradesh. This was after Tawang had been overrun by advancing Chinese forces. It was decided that this axis is where the Army would fight a dogged and prolonged defensive battle for which resources and logistics had been built up. The idea was that longer the campaign stretched, the more difficult it would get for the Chinese to sustain operations.’
But 4 Div withdrew without fighting, a fact that is officially confirmed and documented in the report. This entire episode of the “collapse and rout of the 4 Infantry Division” has been described in the report as “a shameful incident” of a “renowned division collapsing and retreating without putting up a fight”.
The Sunday Express has learnt that around four pages of this covering note focus on wartime Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon’s interference in military matters, particularly on the shuffling of senior generals in the run-up to the month-long war.
The covering note, according to sources aware of the contents of the report, is the only place where there is a comment on the political leadership of the Defence Ministry. There is no direct comment on then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru anywhere in the letter or in the report, which confines itself to the conduct of military operations.
The important revelatory aspect of the Brooks-Bhagat report is its conclusion that shortages in ammunition and equipment were not among the primary reasons for the defeat.