It was the failure of Jawaharlal Nehru and V K Krishna Menon and those in India’s ministry of external affairs who were their advisers to understand the Chinese mindset, which led to the national humiliation in the Sino-Indian war of 1962.
Repeated warnings from the Intelligence Bureau about the large-scale Chinese intrusions into the Aksai Chin area of Ladakh and their construction of a road there were not only ignored, but these disturbing developments were kept away from the knowledge of the public and Parliament. They fondly believed that they would be able to make the Chinese see reason and withdraw from this region by observing a policy of silence and not articulating our concerns in public. Their fond hopes were belied.
It was not the Indian intelligence and security forces which were responsible for the 1962 debacle. It was the political leadership, which was living in an illusory world of its own creation [Tawang: Some Indian plain-speaking at last!]
Not much has changed from the days of Nehru in terms of preparedness, but now it is hard to hide such information from the public and Parliament and that in turn forces the Ministers to make hard hitting public statements.
Talking to journalists in Shillong on June 16, Mukherjee said ‘he had made it clear to his new Chinese counterpart that any elected Government of India is not permitted by the provisions of the Constitution to part with any part of our land that sends representatives to the Indian Parliament.’
The minister added: ‘The days of Hitler are over. After the Second World War, no country captures land of another country in the present global context. That is why there is a civilised mechanism of discussions and dialogue to sort out border disputes. We sit around the table and discuss disputes to resolve them.’
Antony told journalists in New Delhi on June 18, ‘China has been building infrastructure (near the Line of Actual Control). We are also building infrastructure. Nobody can prevent both sides. There is nothing wrong in that. They have the right to build infrastructure on their territory. We have the right to do that on ours. We are also trying to hasten the development of our infrastructure. They have their perception (about Arunachal Pradesh). On our part, we are very categorical that Arunachal Pradesh is part of India.’ [Tawang: Some Indian plain-speaking at last!]
I wish they tried some of our suggestions as well.