04 August 2014
Any nation is entitled to learn from mistakes of the past,” wrote Arun Jaitley, in a blogpost, a couple of months before he became defence minister, arguing that the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 India-China war should be made public. To keep “these records ‘top secret’ indefinitely may not be in the public interest,” he wrote.
On July 8, he did a U-turn. In a written reply to a question in Parliament, Jaitley said, “the release of this report, fully or partially, or disclosure of any information related to this report, would not be in national interest.”
Jaitley is not the first defence minister who has beaten a retreat on the Henderson report. In April 2010, defence minister A.K. Antony said the report could not be declassified because its contents “are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value”. During the Vajpayee government, defence minister George Fernandes went down the same route.
As Anit Mukherjee, assistant professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore, says, “The report is just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t have access to even one post-independence military document.”
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 05/08/2014