Former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru blamed himself for India's defeat in the 1962 war against China, said Veteran Journalist and News Agency ANI chairman Prem Prakash in an exclusive interview to Republic TV. Prakash, while talking about his book "Reporting India", shared that Nehru's love for the then Defence Minister Krishna Menon cost India the 1962 Sino-India war.
"Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru felt personally responsible that he wasn't able to defend the country he loved and this had happened because he loved a very political person, Krishna Menon, as his Defence Minister," said Prakash.
Further explaining Menon's style of working, Prakash said that the former interfered in Army promotions and used to pitch for people who were politically close to him. Citing General BM Kaul's example, who led Indian troops in NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) where India suffered the worst defeat, the ANI chairman said, "It happened because of Krishna Menon; of course, he was removed but only after Congress party threatened and there was a lot of noise and demonstrations across India"
"Pandit Ji felt personally responsible that this defeat (Defeat at the hands of China) which India had suffered had happened due to his neglect," he added. Prakash stressed that Nehru was even warned by General Thimayya, the then Chief of Army Staff, who had even resigned in protest.
"It was total neglect by the government that they didn't bother to equip their armed forces properly. If you don't equip your armed forces property, how are you going to fight? There are all kinds of explanation of this defeat, the biggest explanation is that they wanted to spend more money on India's development but development has to be protected," said Prakash.
Citing another example of Nehru's lackadaisical attitude towards India's defence, the veteran journalist underlined how the ordinance factories left by the Britishers were used for making coffee machines instead of weapons. "The Britishers left behind a large number of ordinance factories which Krishna Menon at one point used for making coffee machines. What was that? Those ordinance factories should have been used for making weapons. After the 1962 defeat, Jawaharlal Nehru took some decisions and the biggest one that no political interference will be there in the promotion of armed forces and I thank god that since then there has been no political interference," he said.