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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China war papers denied to shield Nehru: Kuldip Nayar

August 23, 2010

August 19, 2010

The government is trying to hide information on
then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's role in
the 1962 Sino-Indian war by refusing access to
those war papers, says Kuldip Nayar, veteran
journalist and a former Indian envoy to Britain.

Nayar filed a plea under the Right to Information
Act three years ago to get access to classified
papers relating to the 1962 war that humiliated
New Delhi and led to the loss of 38,000 sq km of territory to the Chinese.

Six months ago, Nayar said the Central
Information Commission turned down his request,
saying the documents can't be revealed in the
interest of national security. Now, he has
approached the high court to get access to these
crucial papers which he feels can throw light on
who was responsible for India's crushing defeat in the war.

"I was told that military tactics can't be
revealed. What's so sensitive about information
on tactics nearly five decades after the war?"
Nayar told IANS. Does that mean the tactics have not changed, he asked.

"There is a political angle and there is a
military angle to the war. I wanted to find out
who was really responsible for India's defeat:
the military or political leadership," said Nayar.

"There is so much criticism of Nehru on how the
war went. My suspicion is they don't want to
reveal these papers as they do not want questions
to be raised on Nehru's leadership," said Nayar.

The government is also sitting pretty on another
plea of Nayar requesting access to documents
pertaining to talks between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
and Swaran Singh, then foreign ministers of
Pakistan and India respectively, after the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

The information commission has asked the
government to consider the request but nothing has moved so far, Nayar said.

Asked why he was keen to get these papers, Nayar
said there was a lot of pressure from Britain and
the US on India to resolve the Kashmir issue after the 1965 war.

"There were five rounds of discussions between
Swaran Singh and Bhutto on this issue. Their
discussions on resolving the Kashmir issue are still relevant," said Nayar.

Under Indian law, all documents could be made
available to the archives 30 years after the incident.

"It's happening in the US and the UK. There is a
great need for transparency about historical
events. The government has clearly something to hide," said an incensed Nayar.
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