NEW DELHI, March 21 � The �Forward Policy� pushed by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that ultimately proved to be disastrous for India during the Chinese aggression, was militarily an unsound initiative and adopted despite opposition from the Army High Command.
�As it was, we acted on a militarily unsound basis of not relying on our own strength but rather believed on lack of reaction from the Chinese,� observed Lt General Henderson Brooks in his report.
Nehru�s role in the Indo-China conflict would come for a close scrutiny in the event of the �top secret� report being withheld for 52 years is declassified. Henderson Brooks, too, was not allowed to go into the political aspect and was directed to concentrate on the military operations only.
�We forget the age-old dictum of �Art of War� summed up so aptly by Field Marshal Lord Roberts: �The Art of War teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy not coming, but rely on our own readiness to receive him, not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable�.�
�Militarily, it is unthinkable that the General Staff did not advise the government on our weakness and inability to implement the �Forward Policy�. The government was advised on our deficiency in equipment, manpower, logistics and support, which would seriously prejudice our position in the event of a Chinese attack on us,� the report said.
The fact, however, remains that orders were given by the General Staff in December 1961 for implementation of the �Forward Policy� without the prerequisite of major lapses for restoring a military situation as laid down by the government. Indeed, General Kaul as CGS and the Prime Minister�s Office (PMO) time and again ordered in furtherance of the �Forward Policy�, the establishment of individual posts overruling protests made by the Western Command,� Brooks wrote.
General Kaul in his report goes on to state that in a number of meetings held by the Defence Ministry and attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) himself, as well as CGS, Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB), representatives of the External Affairs Ministry and Home Minister, the general view was that the Chinese would not go for a showdown, the report said.
This is strange, because militarily action emerges from both political and military appreciations. It was clear from 1960 onwards that China had greatly increased her force
In Tibet, a strength far greater than that required from defence or quelling of Tibetan uprisings, commanded Lt. General Henderson Brooks.
To base military actions and place in jeopardy the security of troops on supposition and beliefs put across at conference tables indicates either acceptance of the belief or a militarily immature mind, the report said.
The General Staff, particularly CGS, deputy CGS and the Director of Military Operations (DGMO) went a step further and permeated the belief in the Army, with disastrous result that even field formations were infected with a sense of complacency.