रविवार, 23 मार्च 2014

Henderson Brooks–Bhagat Report





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report, also referred to as the Henderson Brooks report, is a classified report prepared by two Indian Army officers, Lieutenant-General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier Premindra Singh Bhagat, on the Sino-Indian War of 1962. Bhagat later was promoted as a lieutenant general. Part I of the two-part report was leaked in 2014 by a retired left-wing Australian journalist. (The second part deals with the enduring lessons of the Chinese aggression.)
The Henderson Brooks-P.S. Bhagat report was supposed to be an "operations review" of the causes of the Indian Army's humiliating rout by the invading People's Liberation Army. The two investigating officers, however, skirted the operations review by focusing on the political causes of the rout in the war.
The report, instead of pinpointing the military aspects of the defeat, palmed off the blame on the political leadership, with its authors going beyond their limited mandate to inquire into troop training and fitness, equipment, and command structure. Worse, on the advice of the Army chief, the report did not go into the functioning of the Army Headquarters, with the result that the "relationship between the Defence Ministry and the Army Headquarters and the directions given by the former to the latter" were not examined.[1]
Furthermore, as the report itself admits, its two investigating officers had no access to documents in key Indian government departments, including the Prime Minister's Office and the ministeries of defence and external affairs. Nor were any classified or public hearings held. Yet, within four months of being tasked to inquire, the two officers submitted a heavily opiniated report that conveniently sought to shift the focus from the Army's accountability for a miserable performance in the war to the "interference" of the political leadership in military matters. Pinning the blame on the political leadership for the military defeat fitted well with the Indian Army's reluctance to own up institutional responsibility for the rout in a war that the Army should have seen coming, given the gradual rise in mlitary tensions after the Dalai Lama's 1959 flight to India.
In passing political judgments, however, the two Army officers entered the political domain in a manner military officers rarely do in any established democracy. This was one of the reasons why the Indian government kept the controversial 1963 report classified.
However, in February 2014, the retired Australian journalist Neville Maxwell, who authored the controversial 1970 book India's China War, released Part I of the report where the two Army officers had recorded their opinions on the purported shortcomings in India's political approach and policy in the period leading up to the Chinese military attack.[2] The report, for example, blamed the Indian political leadership for pursuing what the Chinese had called "forward policy" on the borders, without the report explaining that this policy was a belated attempt by India to forestall further loss of land to a China that had annexed the sprawling Tibetan plateau and was assertively nibbling at Indian territory.
Maxwell, who claimed to have received the classified report in the 1960s, leaked a part of the report 44 years after he published his book, known for its openly pro-China slant.[3][4][5] Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng in 1976 gifted Maxwell's book to visiting Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew, but Lee refused to take the "revisionist, pro-China history" book, telling his host: “Mr. Prime Minister, this is your version of the war. There is another version, the Indian version. And in any case, I am from South-East Asia — it’s nothing to do with us”.[6]
Maxwell apparently received the classified report from one of its two authors, or from another high-level source in the Indian Army, underscoring the military leaker's interest in disseminating the findings of the report. Maxwell relied on this skewed report, and on Chinese government briefings, to write his opinionated account of the war. In April 2010, India's Defence Minister A.K. Antony had told Parliament that the report could not be declassified because its contents “are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value."[7]
By releasing Part I of the report, Maxwell, however, has done India a favour. The release demystifies and deflates a report which, by being kept under wraps for so long, had acquired a specious reputation of offering valuable military insights, as if it were the “definitive” account of the war.”.[8]
In his book, by just focusing on India's purported "forward policy," Maxwell glossed over the fact that at the root of the China-India war was China's elimination of the historical buffer by gobbling up the Tibetan plateau. This annexation constituted not only a successful forward policy by China, but also brought Han Chinese troops to India's Himalayan borders, where they sought to nibble at more land. The resulting Indian reaction to prevent the loss of more territory set the stage for China's surprise attack in October-November 1962.[9]
India has still no answers as to whether the defeat resulted from incompetence at the political level (the then Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had assiduously courted China right through the 1950s, despite the Chinese annexation of the historical buffer, Tibet) or at the military level (the then army chief, in particular, was widely seen as being out of his depth).
As the New Delhi-based correspondent of a British newspaper, Maxwell presented a pessimistic portrayal of India in the 1960s, even predicting repeatedly the early collapse of Indian democracy and the break-up of India.[10][11] He went from being an anti-Communist to becoming a frank admirer of Maoist China, developing a reputation, as one of his interviewers noted, as "an apologist for China".[12] Maxwell's "Marxist orientation and deep-seated prejudice against India coloured his writings", and even though he admitted that China attacked India, he claimed that China was provoked into attacking India to defend its honour and dignity.[13] The renowned Harvard scholar Roderick MacFarquhar, by contrast, pointed out in his landmark study that Mao Zedong planned the attack on India systematically to achieve a swift, decisive victory and to teach India a lesson. MacFarquhar's study, discrediting the thesis that Maxwell argued in his book, called the 1962 armed conflict "Mao’s India War".[14] Much before he published his book, Maxwell's gloom-and-doom journalistic despatches from New Delhi about India had already generated intense controversy.[15]
Before he released Part I of the report, Maxwell had published what he contended were accurate summaries of the report's contents.[16]
The first part of the report, comprising 190 pages and as leaked by Maxwell, [17] can be read on his website (being mirrored on Indian media). Maxwell has offered no explanation for withholding release of the second part of the report, which details the lessons of the Chinese aggression.

References

  1. Page 1 of Part 1 of the Henderson Brooks-P.S. Bhagat report as released by Neville Maxell
  2. Part 1 of the Henderson Brooks-P.S. Bhagat report as released by Neville Maxell
  3. Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (2005), Mao: The Unknown Story, London: Jonathan Cape
  4. "Remembering a War". Rediff. 8 Oct 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  5. Kai Friese (22 October 2012). "China Was The Aggrieved; India, Aggressor In ‘62". Outlook India. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  6. Today newspaper (2013-09-23). "What's the Big Idea?". Today (Singapore). Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  7. The ghost of 1962, by Venkatesan Vembu, Daily News & Analysis, 2 May 2010, [1]
  8. "The Henderson Brooks morality play". Indian Express. 2014-03-20.
  9. Mohan Malik (2011), China and India: Great Power Rivals, FirstForum Press, USA
  10. Stanley Plastrik (1972-05-18). "Indignation over India". The New York Review of Books.
  11. Ramachandra Guha (2005-07-17). "Past & Present: Verdicts on India". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  12. Kai Frieze (2012-10-22). "Interview: "China Was The Aggrieved; India, Aggressor In ‘62"". Outlook magazine. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  13. Mint newspaper (2013-12-25). "The Chinese art of creping warfare". Mint. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  14. Roderick MacFarquhar (1967), The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, Volume 3: The Coming of the Cataclysm 1961-1966, New York: Columbia University Press
  15. A.H. Hanson (1968-10-01). "Factionalism and Democracy in Indian Politics". The World Today, Vol. 24., No. 19. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  16. How the East Was Lost, Neville Maxwell, Rediff Online
  17. NDTV.com available at http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/ndtv-special-ndtv-24x7/explosive-report-on-1962-india-china-war-leaked/313686?hp&video-featured

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