Nehru and the Indian Armed Forces
The Indian armed forces, more particularly the army have a long history of valor and bravery. The present Indian army traces it's lineage to the days of the British Raj, represented first by the East India Company and later by the British crown. The Indian army has no connection with earlier Hindu or Muslim armies and one can safely say that the Indian armed forces were created by the English for their own use and subsequently after independence were inherited by the Indian state.
The Indian army was the lynchpin of English rule all over the world and the army saw action in far away places like China( opium wars and Boxer Rebellion) and Afghanistan( Three Anglo-Afghan wars) as well a stellar role in two World Wars, where they played a significant part in the allied Victory.
In 1947, India inherited a very professional and battle hardened army. The Congress party which came to power under Nehru had an entirely different concept of military power, or if one is not chariatable one can say they were novices in the role of military power in formulating policy and standing in world polity of nations. Some of their opinions were to say the least ludicrous, like the time when the Indian president Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1955 stated that the Indian army should be disbanded and policemen could be used to 'look after' the border with Pakistan and China. Luckliy his thoughts did not bear fruit.
After 1947, Nehru who became the prime minister after a lifetime of sitting on satyagraha had under him a powerful army. Unfortunately he had no idea of power politics and he also distrusted the army. This distrust was accentuated when General Ayub Khan seized power in a military coup in Pakistan and General Ne Win became the strong man of Burma, ousting a national leader like Aung San.
These military coups convinced Nehru, that he could also be ousted bya military coup and thus he made plans to downgrade the army. Firstly he reduced the standing army and secondy withdrew many perks and privileges which had existed from the days of the Raj. Worse he vetoed any plan to train and arm the army on modern lines with latest weaponry.
He was in real terms a silly man, as he strutted about the world stage as a " great third world leader". He assumed that a defanged army would not matter and the world would respect him as a great statesman. One wishes he had read history as the model followed by Nehru did not exist and all empires and large nations survived on military might.
He also began to tinker with the army general staff and began to promote generals who he felt were more loyal to him. He sidelined many veterans in this scheme. He also began to promote his cousin BM Kaul as Army Chief by promoting him to a Lieutenant General , without adequate experience. Such promotions were like a last straw on the camels back and the then Chief General Thimmiya resigned. Nehru placated Thimmiya and promoted Kaul after he had retired and made him Corps commander. Thus he put the Indian army under a novice.
Nehru continued merrily and was not aware that China was into a military build up in Tibet. Earlier also he had shown his incompetence by agreeing for a cease fire in Kashmir in 1948, when the tribals and the Pakistan army were retreating and on the run.
Nehru thus did grave harm to the Indian nation by keepig the army short of weaponry. He thought he had forestalled a coup. Actually there was no chance of a coup at all, but Nehru was a man with a paranoid vision.
The house that Jack built had to collapse and in Ovtober 1962, the Chinese army struck across the Himalays. The Indian army taken unaware and fighting with First World War rifles was resoundingly beaten.
Nehru had his ego pricked and he was shamed in the world. He died a year and half later, a broken man who could not visualize the concept of military power. It is recorded that after the defeat in 1962, Nehru never made a visit abroad. Now one can see that the seeds sown by Nehru are sprouting and even Narendra Modi is committing the same mistake as Nehru.
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