NEW DELHI, March 20 � Advocating declassification of the Henderson Brooks report 52 years after the Chinese aggression, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said that if the documents pertain to internal security, there may be some public interest served in keeping them a secret for some time. However, to keep these documents �top secret� indefinitely may not be in larger public interest.
The Leader of Opposition who blogged about the report, however, was silent as to why the NDA Government during its term did not choose to declassify it.
In the last 52 years the report had been kept as a closely guarded secret. All governments in the last 52 years did not feel the necessity of making the documents public. This raises a legitimate question with regard to the declassification of archival records. Are archival records to be kept away from public gaze indefinitely, Jaitley lamented.
Neville Maxwell, the author of India�s China War who has been a critic of India�s military strategy, had released large parts of Henderson Brook�s report recently. The report was prepared by Lt General Henderson and Brig Bhagat, who analysed the lapses in India�s military operations in the 1962 war with China.
�Any nation is entitled to learn from the mistakes of the past. The security aspect of a document loses its relevance in the long run. Any society is entitled to learn from the past mistakes and take remedial action. With the wisdom of hindsight I am of the opinion that the report�s contents could have been made public some decades ago,� said Jaitley.
What has been made public is Part-I of the report. It has been reported in the media that pages 112 to 167 are still not known. Is it because these pages contain some material which can be embarrassing to those in power in 1962? The first 111 pages having been made public, it is now necessary that the balance pages also be made public rather than allow public opinion to be influenced by unauthentic sources,� Jaitley wrote.
�The contents of the report also raise some legitimate questions. The military strategy of the then Government has been seriously questioned. The intelligence assessment of the Chinese attitude was a flawed one. The military strategy in creating �forward posts� has been criticised as providing to the Chinese a pretext for invasion,� the BJP leader pointed out.
�It further appears from the report that the then Prime Minister and his favourite set of officials both in the Army and in the Intelligence establishment, were flawed in their assessment. In fact, the opinion of these officials close to the then Prime Minister had cost this country heavily. The unpreparedness of the Armed forces is writ large in the contents of the report. Was a Himalayan blunder of 1962 in fact a Nehruvian blunder?� Jaitley wondered.