The armed forces veterans' statement has been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre), CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat (left) and Army chief Gen. M.M. Naravane (right), among others (representational image) | Photo: ANI
The armed forces veterans' statement has been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre), CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat (left) and Army chief Gen. M.M. Naravane (right), among others (representational image) | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: A ‘Statement on China’ signed by 144 armed forces veterans has highlighted the urgent need for a revamp of India’s intelligence system, in the context of the Galwan Valley clash on 15 June that killed 20 Indian soldiers.

The statement, sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs on 2 July, said the Galwan incident could only have happened because of failure at one or more levels in the political, civil and military establishments, especially in continuous intelligence acquisition and dissemination.

“While we accept that failures can happen in any system, in the current instance, either our intelligence system was found wanting, or the intelligence which was obtained did not reach the field units in time,” the veterans stated. “We therefore urge that our nation’s intelligence system be urgently revamped.”

Air Marshal K.C. ‘Nanda’ Cariappa (retd), one of the signatories to the statement, told ThePrint that it was the brainchild of former Navy chief Admiral L. Ramdas (retd).

“I went through the letter and we signed it out of our love for the armed forces and the country,” Cariappa said.

The Galwan incident, Cariappa added, has seen a lot of “twisting of facts”, prompting the veterans to come out with the statement.

‘Nanda’ Cariappa is the son of Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa, the first Indian chief of the Indian Army, and was a prisoner of war in Pakistan in the 1965 war.

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Also read: India, China corps commanders to meet next week, will focus on next round of disengagement


Communication gap

The veterans’ statement also highlighted the communication gap from the government and the military during the stand-off with China at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, and said a formal statement should have been issued by either soon after the Galwan clash, which would have put rumours and guesswork to rest.

“It would have prevented China from taking advantage of contradictions between ambiguous or inaccurate verbal statements needing later clarifications,” the veterans stated, adding that in the event of such future situations, only formal statements be issued to ensure that the Indian public is not confused and the “aggressor nation” does not gain political advantage.

The statement further read that a fact-finding body needs to be immediately instituted regarding the “intrusions, incursions and encroachments by China” in Aksai Chin (Depsang, Galwan, Pangong Tso etc.), and elsewhere along India’s long border with it.

“We request that the report of this fact-finding body be tabled in the Lok Sabha with time-bound framework,” it said.


Also read: India, China look to build on Doval-Wang dialogue, eye ‘long-term settlement plan’ for LAC


National policy and strategy

The veterans went on to say that India urgently needs a national policy and strategy on neighbourhood management, featuring all of India’s immediate and more distant neighbours, especially China and Pakistan.

“Formulation of such national policy and strategy has been neglected by successive governments,” they said.

This should be immediately initiated to safely guide India’s political, military, bureaucratic and diplomatic establishments towards “stable relations with our neighbours, small and large, friendly or inimical”.

“Having an overarching national policy and strategy will reduce casualties among our troops, which occurred due to the heightened risk of being reactive to conflict situations created by China or Pakistan,” the veterans said.

Report on 1962 war be made public

The statement also sought the release of the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report on the 1962 India-China war into public domain, so that the “military-bureaucratic-political system and the public can learn from the mistakes of the past”.

“We urge that the government should take very early steps towards concluding boundary agreements with all our neighbours, but especially China and Pakistan, by employing all available diplomatic means and pressures, together with the power of India’s membership position for 2021-22 in the UN Security Council,” it said.

“This does not in any manner imply reduction in deployment of our armed forces or let up in our intelligence systems, but it will enable us to better attend to development for our people within our country,” it added.

The veterans’ statement also said proactive steps should be taken to use non-electoral political tools of consultation, discussion and negotiation to resolve all domestic disputes and situations, instead of coercion and force. This, it said, would strengthen the nation’s integrity and resolve to face any and all aggressive designs by inimical and aggressive neighbours.

“These steps will enable state and central governments to devote more attention and resources towards development of our people within our country,” it said.


Also read: How India lined up US, Russia on its side of LAC and China was forced to return friendless


 

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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. It is now close on 58 years since the 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict happened. Post that the debacle was investigated by Lt Gen Henderson Brooks and Brig Premindra Bhagat. That report often referred to as the HBB report is classified “TOP SECRET” and has never been de-classified. The article above refers to that report and asks for it to be de-classified and put on the public domain. This actually a laughable demand. “On 17 March 2014, Maxwell posted Volume 1 of the two-volume report on his website.[2] Maxwell had acquired a copy of the report and wrote his book India’s China War based on it.[3] In an interview, Maxwell said he had never seen Volume 2 but understood it to be “mainly memos, written statements and other documents on which the authors based the report”.[4]”
    Since Volume 1 of the report is already in the public domain, it is accessible to all and sundry. Whether it has been posted there by the Government of India or Neville Maxwell is an academic issue. Volume 2 comprises only memos to which the reference has been made and discussed in Volume 1.
    The opening sentence of the report clearly states that the COAS ordered the report on 14 December 1962. The “Terms of Reference” were signed by the COAS. hence the entire report can only investigate the issues of omission OR commission of the Indian Army. The issue of why we went to war with China OR why the Chinese thrust the war upon us will never be either investigated or discussed in the report as it was clearly beyond its terms of reference.
    Armies, of democratic countries, do not go to war because the Generals want to wage war. That is wholly and solely a political decision. That has NEVER been investigated OR ever will be.
    For those who WANT to read that report, please go to the internet and download the 126-page document and study it.

  2. These so called veterans doesn’t know the reality just acting like political puppets.
    As a veteran iam ashamed by their actions.
    Can’t name them but two in the list have history.

  3. Doval,RAW and MI are main culprits as they failed to read Chinese intent,next is chain of Command from Naravane to GOC 3Div,all are responsible. Modi and Raj-Not Singh are responsible at political level as they failed to lay down clear rules of engagement

  4. If even after such public humiliation of India by China…………..the veterans won’t speak………..then who will??

  5. Can any of these veterans confirm that all defense deals during their tenures were clean ? Has anyone of them or all of them collectively ever written to the government about the defense scandals that were taking place then.
    Looks like it is just hate Modi and enjoy the orop+ cheaqt canteen stuff.

  6. These Fauzi’s are on congress payroles and following Sheikhar Gupta’s line .Mr Gupta always find problem in present govt.

  7. Is this a new fashion of governance?

    Former Government functionaries telling the present ones what to do and what not .

    • Being a veteran myself, I am disappointed and ashamed.

      Any action is best defined by its intention. I ail to see any positive intention in such a letter!

      None the less, it does not necessarily mean that the contents of the letter are true.

    • yeah some heads of Airforce, Navy playing politics and asking silly questions. What do they know about ground reality. What they know about counter operations. Only PM can do politics and act innocent… Totally with you my Dear Half Pant.

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