There is much that is not commonly known about the shocking aspects of the 1962 India-China War, so shocking indeed that S Gopal, Nehru's official biographer, was constrained to comment: “Things went so wrong that had they not happened it would have been difficult to believe them.” The Henderson-Brooks report covered only the limited aspects their authors were tasked with. The book “Foundations of Misery” by Rajnikant Puranik in its chapter “Himalayan Misadventure” details all the aspects of that avoidable war. We are serialising that chapter.
Despite not having contributed anything worthwhile as the High Commissioner in London, Menon rose to become a cabinet minister, again thanks to Nehru. Being a “chamcha” is a very useful quality. People like chamchagiri more than competence. And if you happen to propound similar views—leftism, communism, anti-Americanism—so much the better.
This is from Left out by history by Inder Malhotra in The Indian Express of 6 March 2007 about Krishna Menon:
“…The [top secret] file contained only two documents and their originator, MI5, Britain's internal intelligence and counter-espionage agency,…One was the transcript of a telephonic conversation between Sudhir Ghosh, PRO at India House, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in New Delhi. As Khushwant Singh, then Ghosh's deputy, has recorded more than once, [Sardar] Patel, as home and information minister, had installed Ghosh in London to ‘spy’ on [Krishna] Menon. The second document was a copy of a brief but sensitive communication Menon had sent to V.M. Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister. Describing the message as ‘sinister’, MI5 had added that it had obtained the highly secret paper ‘through our usual method’…The redoubtable Sardar [Patel] obviously shared MI5's view of Menon. If he could have helped it, he would have prevented his appointment as high commissioner. This, he knew, as an arch-realist, was impossible, given [Krishna] Menon's proximity to and friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru. So he did the next best thing, and planted a spook in the high commission.
“…Nehru's decision, soon afterwards, to appoint Menon defence minister was not a fortunate one…his bossiness, bullying and a proclivity to create cliques led to trouble. He dragged the Officer Corps into the vortex of politics and himself got mired in the politicking of the top brass. His classic clash with General KS Thimayya, a fine professional with unparalleled popularity among the troops, followed. Its consequences were catastrophic…Menon lasted as long as he did entirely because of unstinted support by Nehru…”
Menon was reported to have insultingly remarked about General Thapar: “That toothless old woman; he did not know how to fight a war.”
Parliamentarians from all parties demanded somebody’s head—Menon’s or Nehru’s. Nehru realised that they may not stop with Menon. He reportedly told his confidant: “They want Menon’s blood—if I agree, tomorrow they will ask mine.”
In “How to make foes and alienate people” in The Indian Express of 6 February 2012, Inder Malhotra writes: “Thus it was that even after the full-blooded Chinese invasion, Nehru ignored the countrywide outcry for Menon’s ouster. But the pressure of public opinion was too strong. Nehru took 11 days to divest his protégé of the defence portfolio which he took over himself but retained Menon as minister of defence production. This arrangement could not have been sustained in any case but Menon made this impossible. True to type, he thumbed his nose at his critics and declared: ‘Nothing has changed. I am sitting in the same room and doing the same work.’…This led to a virtual revolt within the Congress party. Mahavir Tyagi, Nehru’s ‘comrade’ since the freedom struggle, told him at an acrimonious conclave that if he did not sack Menon he might himself have to go. On November 7, Nehru announced that he had accepted Menon’s resignation. Over this there was as much glee in the United States as in India.”
Actually, Krishna Menon was no more than Nehru's minion. He had no standing of his own. He was a nobody in the Congress Party. On his own, he didn’t count for anything in the country at large. Yet, most people blamed only Krishna Menon for the debacle—without accepting that the real architect of the nation's tragedy was Nehru himself.
The Current Status
There has been no border settlement yet, although there have been a number of Sino-Indian Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and Agreements to maintain the border calm. Both countries are supposed to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as on 7 November 1959, as was proposed by China when it declared unilateral ceasefire on 21 November 1962.
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