Indian government blocks Neville Maxwellâ€™s website.
By Rajiv Theodore
NEW DELHI:Â nevillemaxwell.com, the website of an Aussie scribe, has been blocked by the Indian government. The reason: its contents are politically explosive.
Neville Maxwell, the former New Delhi correspondent for The Times, London, published his controversial book “India’s China War” based on an â€˜â€™internal studyâ€™â€™ by Indian Army officers Henderson Brooks and Prem Bhagat in 1963 which brutally analyzed the reasons for the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Chinese.
Neville had put that controversial report â€“ titled the Henderson Brooks report – which blamed India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the defeat, on his website. The report was prepared by Lt. Gen. Henderson Brooks and Brig P S Bhagat on the instructions of then Chief of Army Staff Gen J N Chaudhuri.
In a statement, Indiaâ€™s Defence ministry said: “Given the extremely sensitive nature of the contents of the report, which are of current operational value, it is reiterated that the government of India has classified this report a ‘Top Secret’ document and it won’t be appropriate to comment on the contents uploaded by Neville Maxwell.”
Neville has said that he was extremely â€˜â€™frustratedâ€™â€™ in not seeing the exhaustive document being declassified since 1963. Maxwell, now 87, even made several attempts to give the report to Indian newspapers but unfortunately found that even the fourth-estate found the report too hot to handle.
For the Indian armyâ€™s part it has maintained that the report could be devastating for the morale of the forces if it finds its way into the public domain.
â€œThe reasons for the long-term withholding of the report must be political, indeed probably partisan, perhaps even familial,â€ Maxwell wrote on his website which has been blocked now. â€˜â€™ As I see it now I have no option but, rather than leave the dilemma to my heirs, to put the Report on the internet myself.â€™â€™
Maxwellâ€™s copy of the report looks like it is the third such document in existence. Officially, there are only two such known copies: one with the Defence Secretary and the other with the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).
The select few who have read it say that the report squarely blames the collapse of the top army brass during the nearly one-sided conflict with the Chinese which claimed the lives of 2000 soldiers. About 4000 Indian soldiers were captured and another 15000 panicked and ignominiously scrambled out of the arenas of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh during the war.
No wonder then that Defence Minister AK Anthony told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that the â€˜â€™â€¦contents of the report are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value.”
The report talks in depth of the command failure, the army organization and certain events that led to the appointment of Lt. Gen. Brijmohan Kaul, whose handling of the war theater was next to disastrous. The report also delves into the details of how an entire division (the 4thÂ Infantry Division) collapsed and fled from its headquarters at Tawang and describes how an infantry brigade in the present Arunachal Pradesh was encircled by the Chinese and many forced to surrender.
Although the report does not mention the name of Jawaharlal Nehru, it speaks about his appointee, defence Minister V Krishna Menon, who pitted one officer against another while micro-managing the battles.
Although the hard copy of the original 28 volumes which contains the complete report is yet to come into public domain, the contents that Neville has exposed is enough to create a furor during this extremely sensitive poll season when political parties are belligerently gearing up for elections in a month.
The main opposition BJP smells blood, as the 1962 war with the Chinese happened during the period of Jawaharlal Nehru, Rahul Gandhiâ€™s maternal great grandfather. BJP now wants the entire report to be made public.
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