Saturday, October 20, 2012

“Poor military leadership, not equipment, led to 1962 debacle: Report under wraps”

Some more comments on the 1962 Sino-Indian War

If anyone from this newspaper reads this, kindly advise some news items published in the last few years which have shed positive light on Indian Army leadership!! The worthy Editor-in-Chief and his staff need to introspect deeply. Such cheap news making is not in the interest of the Nation’s security apparatus.

In 1962 it was the arrogant Mr. Krishna Menon who ruled the roost and ran the MoD in a dictatorial manner. It was he who hand picked Lt Gen BM Kaul to be the Chief of General Staff and then GOC 4 Corps. The top Army hierarchy was completely side lined. GenKaul had direct approach to Mr. Krishna Menon and thus circumvented the Army Chief.  Best way to ruin an Army is for the higher ups in Delhi to side line the Chief, which Mr. Krishna Menon did.

With tinted advice from Mr. Mullick the Intelligence Zar at the time, Pt Nehru living in a fantasy world as regards Chinese reaction, the forward policy was adopted.  Small posts were set up in the shop window along the Himalayan border to check mate Chinese as if a game of chess was going on. 7 Brigade was ordered to take defences along the Namka Chu dominated by higher ground across where the Chinese were. Pt Nehru and Krishna Menon totally misread the Chinese mind and reaction. Higher international relations and policy must be carried out with due consultation and advice of the military. IT IS THE SACRED DUTY OF THE POLITICIANS AND DIPLOMATS TO ENSURE THAT HOSTILITIES COMMENCE AT A PLACE AND TIME OF OUR MILITARY’S CHOOSING AND WITH MAXIMUM ADVANTAGE TO THEM. In 1962 it was the reverse!!

Indian troops were ill equipped for fighting in the mountains and still used World War bolt action rifles. No winter clothing worth the name. Any other army would have refused to be so deployed for possible military conflict. It goes to the credit of the Indian generals and officers that they obeyed suicidal orders issued by the Civilians and faced certain reverses and death.

Above all the political leadership decided not to employ the Indian Air Force and thus leaving the Army to fend for itself against a numerically superior and much better equipped Chinese Army. As has now been revealed from Chinese writings, to attack our defences in Sela they had deployed three divisions against depleted Indian 4 Inf Div. This Division was completely devoid of intelligence about the Chinese. It had only one road axis for its maintenance. Like a boxer who has impaired vision, 4 Div was completely surprised by Chinese coming in force and cutting off the only road axis at different points, by trekking along mountain paths. 

This is not the only case where Indian generalship has been derided unfairly. In the official report on 1965 War, the then Defence Secretary, now a Governor has opined that Indian Military Leadership was not up to the mark!! This is sprinkling salt on raw wounds inflicted by the same Ministry of Defence, which as is happening now, just did not procure modern tanks, guns and other equipment in time, knowing fully well whathe Pak had received from America as military aid!! Imagine Indian Sherman tanks firing at Pak Patton tanks and the shots just ricocheting off !!

No one is talking about the delays in equipping India’s Armed Forces due to political and more important bureaucratic hurdles. IN EVERY WAR THAT INDIA HAS FOUGHT AFTER INDEPENDENCE, THE ADVERASRY HAS BEEN BETTER EQUIPPED. Also the Nation has gone to war out maneuvered politically and its military has had to react to enemy’s first moves. It was only in 1971, when the political leadership paid heed to military advice,  the results were there to see. The Indian Generals came in their own and routed the Pak Army in a matter of days.

Indian Express needs to introspect and analyse military matters in greater detail and objectively, before putting headlines on its front Page against Indian Generals. In the case of 1962 War report, the headlines in today's Issue 
of Indian Express are out of context. The role of top political leadership at he time was the main cause for the 

Lt Gen (Retd) Harbhajan Singh PVSM

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