Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Strange Debate on India-China 1962 Secret War Report

That the only Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report in existence, on the cause (and lose) of China-India war of 1962, is secret is well know. There have been numerous calls over the past five decades to declassify the report with the governments at the time whether Congress I or NDA - NDA's Fernandes, as rakshak mantri, seems to have tried hardest - ending up not declassifying the report.

Usual interpretation on why the political and defense establishments refuse to declassify the report is that they do not want to embarrass Nehru, star of Congress I and most left wing historians, or Indian armed forces. But a more bizarre narrative is being developed by analysts who are calling for the report's declassification, including Neville Maxwell who actually saw the report, apparently unauthorized, that somehow the document would enable India and China to their settle border dispute with India agreeing to China's claims that India is at fault on the border dispute. It is the most stunning argument we have heard on the declassification argument!

In his view, India’s unwillingness in the 1950s and 1960s to negotiate a border settlement with China — which [Neville] Maxwell [who wrote India’s China War, a book critical of Nehru] cites as the root cause of the war — can be traced to a failure of post-colonial India to “rethink how the legacy of British India had distorted strategic thinking and the national interest.” Freed from “nationalistic myth-making”, the definition of “national interest” could be tweaked, he reasons. “National interest can be redefined as ‘making territorial concessions (of claims, rather than of de facto control) for the sake of international goodwill and friendship with neighbours so long as the people directly affected (on the borderlands) are consulted’.”

But will such a ‘concession’ — even if it’s only of Indian claims — be received by the Indian public, without accusing its leaders of “selling out to China”? In [Prof Dibyesh] Anand’s estimation, the public can be “persuaded either way if the political leadership shows signs of moving beyond unhelpful nationalist myth-making.”
These analysts seem to disdain "nationalist myth-making" of India as if China does none of that and as if nationalist myth-making is wrong. It is a worrisome turn of the debate on India-China border dispute.

No comments:

Post a Comment