Sunday, October 28, 2012
“Poor military leadership, not equipment, led to 1962 debacle: Report under Wraps” - Comments
More Comments on 1962 Sino-Indian War by Anant Bewoor.
1. Forget about the Def Secy and Foreign Secy being shown the door, what about BN Malik Director IB. His outfit was singularly responsible for the crass negligence towards Chinese perceptions about the border dispute. The IB was full of arrogance and no one could override or disagree with BN Mailk. No politician had any idea what intelligence was. Nehru had the External Affairs with him, Menon was playing around with the Services. Who was willing to "listen carefully to the generals". I was but a lad in 1957/58 when father was Bde Cdr in Ambala under 4 Div commanded by Biji Kaul. 4 Indian Div (Red Eagle Div), of North Africa fame was busy building houses under OP AMAR, the project that reiterated that there was no danger to India's borders as envisaged by Nehru / Malik / Cabinet / Menon / bureaucrats. Many will not remember that our Ordnance Factories were producing coffee perculators / toasters / and other white goods. And writers have the gall to say that military leadership was the primary cause of 1962 performance? Naturally all the Brig John Dalvi's 7 Brigade had was toasters to throw at Chinese troops, and Menon was drinking tea in a restaurant named Laguna in Connaught Place, I have seen him there.
2. Blaming Thapar was easy, he was Chief. How come no one blamed Malik? Not even today. Reason is that blaming Malik means blaming Nehru and Gulzari lal Nanda. Comparing Ladhak with NEFA, Tawang / Walong sector is wrong. Gen Daulat Singh and his commanders remained who they were and Kaul could not interfere, because Daulat Singh would not take it, and Kaul knew it. But because Eastern Command was in Lucknow, 4 Corps was created in Tezpur, and Kaul took it over. What did he do to make East defendable since he was CGS? Nothing. He behaved like the CIGS, the I standing for Imperial. It is easy to crucify Pathania who was given 4 Div after removing Niranjan Prasad. What did Pathania have to fight with? What strategic / tactical orders did Kaul issue from Tezpur / Delhi / or his sick bed? What intelligence did Malik provide? Pathania had a history of gallantry, being a Military Cross + MVC. Not chota mota decorations. Powers in Delhi must have thought he will create miracles. But he was not the "baba" who was Mailk's guru. For years IB policemen swore that, and I quote freely as heard in late 60s, " when baba raised his hand, the Chinese stopped, and went back" Now it is upto those who can, to find out who was this baba. I saw him only once on board an AN-12.
3. There is also comment about supply drops falling into the hands of the Chinese and not Indians. It is true that this happened. On many occasions, by the time our Daks reached the DZ as indicated to Jorhat, Indian forces had withdrawn South. There being no contact between ground and aircraft, the drop went through as planned. The write up makes it sound as though inspite of all modern commn the drops were a big mess. In the West, it was different. Leh based troops were acclimatised. Open areas permitted photo recce, recall Jaggi Naths photos of Chinese troops. This was not possible in NEFA. Besides, many units fought well in NEFA, and units also failed in Ladhak. The IAF was held back for all sorts of reasons. Whether offensive air support could have been given successfully is a matter for debate given the primitive commn, lack of FACs, swift retreats, and no definable Front Line of Own Troops. That is not germane here.
4. Most surely our troops were badly kitted and poorly armed for mountain warfare. Look at it this way in 2012. If VK Singh can say that the civilian bureaucrats with their political masters have made the Army "nanga", and not one Indian is worried, the same situation prevailed in the late 50s with the very same interlocutors, Generals / politicians / bureaucrats. What is the difference, same difference. If a Chief threatens to resign today and tells Indians on TV prime time why he is resigning, who is bothered? Will any NGO, political party, Mamta, Mayawati, Thakery, Lallu, Jayalalitha make an issue. No way. So what impact would have resulted by resignations of Thapar, Sen, Thorat, Daulat, Engineer, Arjan, Jaswant, etc ? In 1962 no one except maybe a few 100 people in Delhi would have known, Akaashvani would not have broadcast it. BN Malik would have frightened Nehru by calling it an attempted coup. Resigning is not the solution, never has been. Resigning is what Arjun wanted to do at Kurukshetra, I am not being dramatic, the story tells us that, and his adviser prevents him from doing so. The rest we all know.
5. Maxwell wrote well, much of what he says has merit. Lets not forget that Henderson Brooks was commanding XI Corps, Bhagat was his BGS, and Daulat was his Army Cdr. I am certain that at least one copy of the report is somewhere waiting to be found. Wonder why no journalist has pursued this? Gen HB could not have consigned everything to Army HQ / MOD. The military can prepare itself, troops / officers can be motivated, training can be done, equipment can be kept fully serviceable etc. But what does a military commander do with out of date fighting weapons? What does he do when his boys do not have even a OG jersey, not even angola shirts, forget great coats, mittens, woolen socks, high ankle boots etc. How does he ensure food when MOD has not sanctioned resources for setting up Rear Area Supply Zones. MOD says not reqd, there is no danger from China, no funds will be given. Can the commander loot a granary? Yes, many unit / bde / Div cdrs / platoon cdrs failed, were overtaken by events, and every failed commander was sacked. Who was sacked from MOD, which politician resigned? There used to be Three Dy Def Ministers then, who resigned?
6. Now recall the very recent IPKF fiasco. Our troops were with SLRs against AK-47s. Our troops had no maps, poor intelligence, uncertain and conflicting orders, hastily gathered, all commanders were sure that it will end within a few weeks. This in 1987, exactly 25 years after Bomdi La, Se La, Walong, Chushul, Chip Chap etc. Are we doubting military leadership? But unit commanders were sacked. If I am correct more Indians died in Lanka than in 1962, I may be wrong. Once again, why did we intervene? This was not an adventure planned and conceived by generals of the Indian Army. The whole thing came out of RAW, MEA, PMO, with gung-ho inputs from Army Hq. Which MEA / PMO / RAW offical was dismissed? Many army guys went home.
7. There is a need for the 1962 battles to be explained to Indians thru TV. Anchors can take it up if Vadras, Khurshids, Gadkaris, Kejriwals, Khaps, will allow them to do so. Gross misconceptions and misinformation is floating around freely, has been for the last 50 years, and keeping the report secret adds to the disinformation. Chinese can say what they want. We know that they had to go back since their lines had become too long and could easily be cut off. The "baba" had nothing to do with it. They had an aim, it was achieved, they went back. How much pressure USSR or USA & UK put seems to be unknown, but it must have been there. And lets not forget Nehrus famous line that my heart goes out to the people of Assam. He was ready to abandon the East. Who gave him inputs to say such a dastardly thing? Certainly not Thapar.