In what could cause heavy damage to the already beleaguered UPA Government, a top secret report on 1962 war which India lost to China was uploaded partially on his blog by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell, who was the New Delhi-based correspondent of The Times of London during those years.
But, within hours of the uploading, the Indian Government moved to block Maxwell’s online blog to deny access to the report. Unfortunately for the government, the part- I of the ‘Lt Gen Henderson Brooks - Brig P S Bhagat Report’ marked ‘Top Secret’, had been downloaded Several times and passed on through the social media to those interested to read it. The blocking of the online blog too invited several slamming by the online communities.
Reacting to the development 24 hours later, the Defence Ministry said it had come across news reports of Maxwell putting out sections of the Henderson Brooks report.
“Given the extremely sensitive nature of the contents of the report, which are of current operational value, it is reiterated that the government of India has classified this report as a top secret document and, as such, it would not be appropriate to comment on the contents uploaded by Maxwell on the web,” Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
The Henderson Brooks report, which was used by Maxwell to publish a controversial book ‘India’s China War’ in 1970, was quite critical of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Forward Policy’ and the then army leadership for the humiliating loss in the 1962 war.
Even 52 years after the defeat in the war against China, the government has kept the Henderson Brooks report under wraps. Defence Minister A K Antony had in April 2010 told Parliament in a written reply that “based on an internal study by the Indian Army, the contents (of the report) are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value.”
Maxwell said in his website that he had for long mistakenly assumed that the Indian government would release the Henderson Brooks report after a decent interval, given that he had published parts of it in his book in 1970.
The Henderson report, also put on its website by Indian Defence Review, criticised then Nehru government, the military and the intelligence agencies for assuming that the Chinese would not escalate hostilities, whereas militarily they should have thought “exactly the opposite”.