ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Fear of the Past

Official India's obsession with secrecy does not allow us to have a perspective on the past.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on 9 November 1962, shortly after the war with China had broken out, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru observed, “People have been shocked ... [by] the reverses we suffered. So I hope there will be an inquiry so as to find out what mistakes or errors were committed and who were responsible for them.” Following on this assurance to Parliament, the government constituted an inquiry into the Indian army’s performance in the war against China. Just under six months later, the two-member committee comprising Lieutenant General T B Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P S Bhagat submitted the report to the army chief. Defence Minister Y B Chavan conveyed to Parliament a watered-down version of the key findings of the report. He also said that the report could not be published as it would “not only endanger our security but affect the morale of those entrusted with safeguarding the security of our borders”.

After five decades, the report is yet to be officially declassified despite periodic calls for its release. The government’s stonewalling has been supported by other institutions. In an egregious ruling issued in 2009, the Central Information Commission (CIC) held that “no part of the report might at this stage be disclosed” under the provisions of the Right to Information Act. Declassifying it would apparently “seriously compromise” India’s security and its relationship with China.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top