What we learn from Arun Jaitley's volte-face on Henderson Brooks report

"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 be influenced by unauthentic sources."

The above paragraph is taken from Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's blog post The Henderson Brooks Report which he authored on 19 March 2014 as the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. The story, however is Jaitley's blog post now cease to exist on his website arunjaitley.com as reported by DNA.

In March this year Australian journalist Neville Maxwell had sent shock waves particularly in the Congress camp when he chose to release the Henderson Brooks report partially just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Firstpost story by G Pramod Kumar on 19 March said: "It's been always known that Maxwell had access to the report, because one of the three angles that his 1970 book, curiously titled "India’s China War" (and not the other way) took details from the Henderson Brooks report.

"In his book, he had noted that then prime minister and the defence minister had meddled with the military and the North-East Frontier Agency debacle was because of men and material. The Brooks report noted that Nehru’s ill-conceived "Forward Policy", initiated a year earlier, was the reason for the war rather than China’s aggression.

"The BJP lost no time in seizing the opportunity to take the matter to the election-wary Congress camp and make it a Patel vs Nehru battle. The Congress had no explanation to offer as to why it’s still clinging to the secrecy of the document, given that all the people involved are long dead and gone."

It is surprising that the Union defence minister who had actively vouched for the military document to be made public earlier did a volte-face in Rajya Sabha by refusing make the report public. Was Jaitley's intention merely political in March and does it signify that in reality he does not want the country to know what caused the military humiliation for India in 1962?


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