New Delhi: Congress leader Amarinder Singh has demanded disclosure of the Henderson Brooks Report into India's military debacle against China in the 1962 war saying there is no reason for the document to be kept under wraps.
"The 1962 War account should be made open. There is no reason for the Henderson Brooks Report to be kept under wraps. We need to know what happened.
"If some politician has committed a bloomer, we should admit it. If some general has messed up, we should open up," the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha said yesterday at the launch of his book 'Honour and Fidelity: India's Military Contribution to the Great War 1914 to 1918'? which he has dedicated to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Amarinder's demands for declassification of the Report may pose a major embarrassment for the Congress considering the Henderson Report is said to have blamed India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Forward Policy for the defeat against China.
The Congress is currently celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru.
Beginning tomorrow it will host a two-day international conference here to focus the world's attention back on Nehruvian legacy of pluralism and secularism.
Amarinder, former Chief Minister of Punjab, was, however, extremely candid about demanding the declassification of the controversial report.
During a discussion on his book yesterday, he said, "Official records of all the wars should be made public including the Henderson Brooks Report into the 1962 War."
The senior Congress leader also slammed the failure to set up a National War Memorial in the commemoration of soldiers who died in the various wars.
"It is very wrong if somebody has not pushed for a war? memorial. All the soldiers who died should be honoured. I hope a National War Memorial would now be set up. It should come up at the Raj Ghat," he said.
Asked why the memorial was not set up during the 10-year rule of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre, Amarinder said, "Many governments came and went whether it was the Congress government or any other. It is a pity that we do not have a national war memorial."
The senior Congress leader also called for clearing the long standing discrepancy around the total number of Indian casualties?in World War I, whose centenary is being observed.
"It is sad that discrepancies should exist even after 100 years of the War. The Indian Army Headquarters puts the casualty figures at 62,000 to 64,000 while the Commonwealth data puts it at?74000.
"Many casualty figures, instead of going to the Indian Army Headquarters, went straight?to?the state units are not reflected in our data," Amarinder Singh said narrating from his book several instances of the Indian soldiers? sufferings and valour in the face of heavy artillery.
"Our soldiers braved bitter cold conditions?in the War. They had no jackets and had only one blanket each. Many died of frost bite.?Many had their legs and feet amputated," said Amarinder.
The event was attended by politicians including Amar Singh, Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Oscar Fernandes among others.
A message from Sonia Gandhi was read out at the function organized by Roli, publishers of the book.