New Delhi: Citing the extreme “sensitive nature” of the contents, the government Tuesday declined to comment on sections of a classified report on the 1962 India-China war that have been posted online.
Sections of the classified Henderson-Brooks report have been put online by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said the report should be released.
The report analysed the causes of India’s humiliating defeat in the 1962 border war against China and allegedly put the blame on the then government of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the military leadership for India’s defeat.
In a statement, the defence ministry said it has “come across news reports which state that an Australian journalist, Neville Maxwell, has put out sections allegedly from the Henderson Brooks Report on the India-China conflict of 1962”.
“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 Neville Maxwell on the web,” it said.
The report, authored by Lt. Gen. Henderson Brooks and Brig. P.S. Bhagat, reportedly details military and political blunders by India that led to the defeat.
Maxwell reportedly got a copy of the report and wrote a book called “India’s China War”. He has put out sections of the report on the web.
The online disclosure of the report came at an odd time for the government which is battling an aggressive opposition in the run up to Lok Sabha elections, which start early next month and continue in May.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said people had a right to know what went wrong and alleged that the country lost the war “because of Nehru.”
“What are they trying to hide by making the war report classified,” Prasad asked.
While the report may not contain significantly new revelations about the poor state of India’s forces during the war, it discusses “how the Army was ordered to challenge the Chinese military to a conflict it could only lose,” according to Maxwell, a retired foreign correspondent who was based in Delhi at the time of the war.
As late as April 2010, defence minister AK Antony told Parliament that the contents of the report are “not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value.”
Maxwell, who wrote a controversial account of the reasons that led to India’s defeat in his work, India’s China War, says on his website that he has always had access to the report and had waited for it to be declassified. He says he has now decided to put a large part of the report in the public domain because of India’s unwillingness to release it.
While the Nehru government’s forward policy has been widely analyzed and criticized as being a contributor, Maxwell says on his website that the report holds India’s first prime minister personally responsible for the war. “The reasons for the long-term withholding of the report must be political, indeed probably partisan, perhaps even familial,” says Maxwell.
The report may provide cannon fodder for the BJP to attack Congress and beef up its campaign for a strong India under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Congress analysts are likely to dismiss the contents since it may not be revelatory, but harp on the progress India has made since then.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.