The tactics employed in 1962 have no relevance today
Indian troops show a banner asking Chinese troops to withdraw. A Tribune file photograph
I was a correspondent of The Times, published from London, when Neville Maxwell was its South Asia correspondent. He operated from New Delhi and we often discussed matters concerning India and other countries, particularly China.
That he was anti-India would be an understatement. His hatred towards the country was patent in his dispatches. For example, he wrote after the second general election in 1957 that it was the last poll of the country because democracy was not suited to India's genius.
I have not seen any of his writings to admit that his reading was incorrect. He reminded me at times of British die-hards who exploited India to make their country rich and indulged in unspeakable atrocities to keep us a colony. Both Maxwell and I often compared India's development with China's. Otherwise progressing democracy, he praised China's authoritarian regime. He honestly believed that it was India which attacked China and therefore titled his book as "India's war on China".
The utility of the book was the reproduction of certain portions of the report by Henderson Brooks, appointed by the government to probe reasons for India's debacle in the 1962 war against China. He reportedly blamed New Delhi, particularly Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, for "shoving" India into a war against China when the former had not provided shoes to the soldiers who were moved from Kashmir to face the Chinese.
I was then the Press Secretary to Home Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and knew his unhappiness over the building up of China's Premier Chou En-Lai by Nehru. The latter introduced him to the world figures and took him to Bandung at the first non-alignment conference. That Nehru was never the same after the defeat and died early because he felt personally betrayed. Although Sardar Patel had warned him through a letter not to trust China which would one day attack India, Nehru was obsessed by a Socialist country and he, to his grief, could not transform India into that mould.