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Blame game on 1962

After many years, we have opened a can of worms and begun a blame game, as is our habit (“Planning flaws cost ’62 war: Report”, March 19). We never learn a lesson and repeat the same follies.

The 1962 defeat was due a flaw of our leadership. Blame it on Nehru or the Army leaders and the then COAS who was promoted to that position by the political masters despite his being incompetent for such a post.

Our political masters sent in an Army to battle even though we were ill prepared with reference to military equipment, winter clothing, roads/infrastructure and the ability to administer troops at such heights.

Our military leadership accepted all this. The result was so devastating that we are yet to recover from the psychological beating and the physical humiliation.

Even today, our defence forces are in as bad a shape as they were then. Their morale is low, training levels poor and equipment/modernisation are poor too.

And all we do is play blame games!

Brig Pradeep Sharma, via email

‘Throw out Chinese’

At a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), which the then Higher Defence Control Organisation attended, the IB representative reported that one of the posts in NEFA had been surrounded by the Chinese. In the absence of the PM, the Defence Minister was chairing the meeting and he looked at the members questioningly. Trying to impress the members, the Army Rep (the Army Chief was away on tour and in his place was his Deputy, the VCOAS) responded: “Sir, the Army will throw them out.” Those words were music to all ears and were “loosely transplanted” outside the Committee Room. The same day the PM was taking a flight out of Delhi and at the airport when asked to comment, he loosely replied, “The Army has been asked to throw out the Chinese!” That prophetic phrase reached the ears of the Chairman Mao who lost no time telling his Red Army to teach India a lesson. This, in substance, is the story of 1962.

Incidentally, in my capacity as Head of the Military Wing, Cabinet Secretariat, and Secretary of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (for almost four years from 1981-85), I noted the minutes of the meetings of the COSC and under directions of the Service Chiefs, did not note in writing a specific mention of individual views of the Chiefs.

Commodore Mukund B Kunte, via email

China was mightier

The truth is that the Indian armed forces were incapable of facing the Chinese aggression. The (dis)credit for this misadventure goes to the then Indian Defence Minister VK Krishna Menon who did not take stock of the Army strength and the quantity and quality of arms required to take on the mighty Chinese military power.

We were then at the Air Force Station Rowriah (Jorhat in Assam as my father was posted there) when the China war broke out in November 1962. At that time, a story was doing the rounds that the Chinese army shot about 500 of its own army men to fill a river in the NEFA area to cross over to the Indian side by walking over their bodies. The Indian Army was a victim of its poor strength due to the foolish policies of the Defence Minister whom Pt Jawaharlal Nehru trusted.

The BJP’s denouncement of the then Congress government for keeping the report under wraps is a farce. Why did it not make the report public when it was in power from 1998 to 2004?

R K KAPO0R, Chandigarh

J-K Gujjar women poor

Apropos the editorial “Rise of women” (March 17), the poor socio-economic plight of Gujjar women in J&K represents the marginalisation of women in the growth process. The depressing scenario of toiling poor women persists. Government schemes do not reach the minority communities. Development services and macro-economic policies should be redesigned to ensure improvement of the poor women of various classes, economic groups and geographical zones. Minority representations should be included in policy-making. Equitable allocation of resources with benefits accruing to women, coupled with the spread of awareness about government schemes, is the only way to gender inclusive growth.

Jyotika Minhas, Phagwara



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