The Delhi High Court on July 16 directed the Union government to place before it the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report. The court issued a notice to the government to file its response on a petition filed by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar.
The report, lying with the Defence Ministry for over 45 years now, was a result of the government inquiry into the humiliating defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 border war.
The Government of India still treats the report as a classified document and have no concrete reasons for not making it public after so many years.
The Indian government’s record in declassifying past records is appalling compared to mature democracies like the United States where even war secrets are declassified after the usual 30-year period.
In the “world’s largest democracy”, important documents relating to our history are not made public on flimsy grounds.
The India-China war was an eye-opener for India. But even after 45 years, the people of India are not aware of the circumstances and reasons that led to India’s defeat. The popular belief among the masses is that China betrayed Indian trust and attacked our defences in the Ladakh and North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) region.
But the government inquiry into the defeat (Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report – still classified but some details available in Neville Maxwell’s article on the 1962 war), the official history of the Government of India (1992), declassified documents from China and United States of America, and a huge amount of research on the subject by Indian analysts and experts reveal startling facts about the war.
If you want to read more about the subject, you can download the official Indian history of the war, which was published by the History division of the Ministry of Defence in 1992.
Government of India’s 1962 war history: