Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Indian Express: A blast from the blue!

What is wrong with INDIAN EXPRESS? A blast from the blue!
Ref: Poor military leadership, not equipment, led to 1962 debacle: Report under wraps by Pranab Dhal Samanta Posted online: Sun Oct 14 2012
Tribune Response
  • TRIBUNE SPECIAL: Why India and China went to war in 1962-I

    Readers Comments
    Dear All,
    I have info that Shekhar Gupta does not have access to Handerson-Brooks Report. As usual he is bluffing and continues to belittle the Army as he did in the non-existant 'Coup' report.

    Dear Mr Gupta,
    You have once again demonstrated your pathological dislike for military men. On whose instructions have you cherry picked portions of the Henderson Brooks report to pillory the army higher command which was in saddle in 1962? You have conveniently omitted mention of the misdeeds of the bureaucrats and political actors in the fiasco of 1962.
    Do you think that if only the generals were to be blamed this report would have been kept under wraps for over 50 years? I will give you an instance which I witnessed as a Maj Gen when I was serving in Army HQ in 1986. The Army under Gen Sundarji was then working on a 15 year perspective plan. After a draft plan had been made the Chief held a conference in his office which was attended by Mr Arun Singh, MOS Defence at that time, and all concerned officers upto Maj Gens and MoD officers upto Joint Secretary level, to explain the Plan and get addl inputs from participants.
    Having attended a number of meetings in the Chief's office earlier I was rather surprised to see a tape recorder in the middle of the table. Its presence was soon explained by Mr Arun Singh. He revealed that he had just completed reading the Henderson Brooks report (he had been in the job a few months only) and he wanted that in future all such important deliberations be recorded. I can vouch for it, which can be confirmed from Mr Arun Singh, that there were a number of interventions/ suggestions by the gens present but there was not a word recorded that had been uttered by the bureaucrats. Reason being that they either had nothing to contribute or they were too scared that any foolish utterance would be held against them.
    Being ADG (Fin Plg) at Army HQ I attended a few meetings with the Chief at the Cabinet Secretariat to discuss the 15 Year Perspective Plan with the CCPA consisting of secretaries of the most important ministries of the govt. The inputs from the honorable participants were pathetic even if one is most charitable. Firstly, a member had come without even reading the Plan document. Secondly, they would behave like a housewife bargaining in the vegetable market. The plan outlay was a few thousand crores rupees and their only input was that we should cut Rs 50 crores off the amount earmaked for armoured vehicles and or Rs 600 crores out of the ammunition outlay- no reasons being given. It was really shocking for me, a first timer at Army HQ, to see how our higher defence planning was being done. The Henderson Brooks Report must have exposed where the politico-bureaucratic combine had let the Army down; but, with your help, it only wants to give out the portion which the Army was honest enough to reveal to learn lessons from its mistakes. Will the other half be half as honest for the sake of the country?
    We have still not been told why the IB/RAW were totally blind in 1962, about LTTE's intentions in 1987, before the IC 814 Hijack, the 27/11 and many other humiliating faux pas where the players were only civilians? The trouble is that there were no Tape Recorders and nobody wants to learn from his mistakes.
    Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)

    Dear Mr. Shekhar Gupta,
    Please see the coverage below by The Tribune vis a vis what your worthy Newspaper headllined on the very Front Page two days ago regarding !!
    One fails to understand what grouse a person of your eminence and experience has against the generals and what has the Nation gained by reading the headlines in your Newspaper!!
    1962 War was primarily failure of political leadership headed by Pt Nehru and his favorite Krishna Menon. Mr. Mullick, the Intelligence Zar also played a key role. Generals like Kaul were thrust on the Army by the politicians, Maj Gen Pathania was brought in by Gen Kaul to command 4 Inf Division at the last moment when it was under attack by the Chinese and one of its brigade annihilated. A division is not a machine whose commander can press a few buttons and start commanding and leading it in battle. He has to know his brigadiers, battalions, troops, the terrain and vice a versa if the division has to face an enemy like the Chinese. The debacle had to happen.
    Politicians and the bureaucrats must not interfere overly with the functioning of the Armed Forces. They seem to have learned nothing from 1962 debacle. How can they, when newspapers like Indian Express dish out such headlines on the 50th Anniversary of a monumental historical event!
    There is no other organization as professional, dedicated, nationalistic and prepared to give sacrifices as the Armed Forces. There are some bad apples, as in any organisation but the Armed Forces are the only organisation which take strict action in this country.
    Elders like you in the media should nurture the Armed Forces. Your mature critique is most welcomed. But not denigrating the Armed Forces please! They are the last bastion in our beloved country along with the judiciary and the media and have risen to the occasion in war and peace. Anyone who derides the generals does a great disservice to the Army and the Nation.
    You are fully aware of the tough selection for the officer cadre and their training through out their careers. You also know about the very narrow and steep pyramid to reach the top rung. Only the best that the system selects become flag rank officers. The system is by and large fair.
    Harbhajan Singh
    Lt Gen, PVSM
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