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Thread: Declassify war records, say veterans

  1. #1
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    Declassify war records, say veterans


    As reported on news.in.msn.com on 8 March 2008:
    Declassify war records, say veterans - National News – News – MSN India - News

    Declassify war records, say veterans


    New Delhi: Controversy has swirled around several war accounts even before the battle of Laungewala came under the shadow of a scandal.

    Call it misrepresentation of history, history of misrepresentation or simply a fear of uncovering errors. The military has been torpedoed by uncomfortable questions about the haze surrounding the sinking of a warship in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the air force's unflattering comments on the army's handling of the Kargil war and contentious war accounts penned by its own veterans.

    After HT ran a series of reports on Laungewala, triggered by diametrically opposed interpretations of that battle by the men who fought it, top military veterans have made a case for the public to get access to India's official war records to exorcise the ghosts of the past. The only war record to have been declassified relates to the 1947-48 Kashmir operations. It was published four decades later in 1987.

    Former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash said, "Speculation about war accounts is unhealthy. The Laungewala controversy is bad for both Army and Air Force. People have a right to know the real story."

    The only official history of the 1962 conflict written so far is the inquiry report on the Indian debacle by Lieutenant General Thomas Bryan Henderson-Brookes, which is still classified and will remain so. Defence Minister AK Antony told Parliament on February 27, "Considering the sensitivity of information contained in the report and its security implications, the report has not been recommended to be declassified."

    The government had appointed a committee in October 2001 under former defence secretary NN Vohra to look into publication of war histories. After it submitted its report in July 2002, the MoD's historical section approached the United Service Institution of India (USI) to scrutinise its war histories and eliminate distortions.

    Squadron Leader Rana JS Chhina (retd), secretary, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, USI, said, "War histories have been swept behind the curtain of secrecy. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

    Hearing an RTI plea on the sinking of INS Khukri, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had whacked the government in January 2008 for being obsessed with confidentiality. The MoD was asked to outline its declassification policy for releasing information to the public.

    Lieutenant General Vijay Oberoi, a former vice-chief, said he failed to understand why war histories had not been declassified. Leaked official versions can be found on the Internet but their accuracy is suspect. Reacting to the Laungewala reports, Congress MP Sandeep Dixit said discovering the truth should prevail over everything else. He said it would reinforce confidence in the leadership.

    Personal interpretations of wars by retired brass, officials say, are not reliable as there is a tendency to self-glorify and run others down. "It adds to the confusion," Oberoi said.

    Information Commissioner AN Tiwari had said while hearing the RTI plea on Khukri, India's biggest wartime casualty, "It is better to draw out a determination as to what details you want to part with and what you do not want to give."

    The Khukri saga was immortalised after its commanding officer, Capt Mahender Mulla, refused to abandon the ship and remained seated in the captain's chair till she sank with 18 officers and 178 sailors. Mulla won the Maha Vir Chakra.

    However, some Navy officials have raised questions about the circumstances in which Khukri went down.



  2. #2
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    Re: Declassify war records, say veterans


    Despite years' brooding still I fail tounderstand what secrecy is left after an event is over. If Country ' A ' has a plan to attack country ' B ' at a particular date and time, everything having any remotest connection with the attack has to be TOP SECRET. But after the attack is over, what is there to be hidden from public ? Same is the case with our war history. After the war is over, the public has every reason to know what happend and if there is a failure or success who was responsible for it lest the wrong man is not rewarded or punished for someone else's sacrifice/ blunders. Every soldier who participated in a paricular war must be having something to say. Let him say and let the people know it.
    Let the posterity learn the real lesson and not what the winner want them to believe. Here the fear of unknown, fear of concealed things, fear of exposures of undue favors granted/undue injury done etc etc may be haunting some one. Otherwise I donot find anything wrong in wide opening the pages of history at least after 5 years or 10 years or 15 years or any prescribed period you name it with jjustifiable reason.

    I am surprised as to why Mr.AKAnntony, our Defence Minister is not supporting this view. Section 8(3) of our RTI Act has a silver-line. Architects of our RTI Act appears thought on this line and were bold enough to say that " matter which has taken place occured or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under Section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that Section " Unless someone muddle with this provision one cannot hide mugh due to this provision.

  3. #3
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    Re: Declassify war records, say veterans


    Despite years' brooding still I fail tounderstand what secrecy is left after an event is over. If Country ' A ' has a plan to attack country ' B ' at a particular date and time, everything having any remotest connection with the attack has to be TOP SECRET. But after the attack is over, what is there to be hidden from public ? Same is the case with our war history. After the war is over, the public has every reason to know what happend and if there is a failure or success who was responsible for it lest the wrong man is not rewarded or punished for someone else's sacrifice/ blunders. Every soldier who participated in a paricular war must be having something to say. Let him say and let the people know it.

    Let the posterity learn the real lesson and not what the winner want them to believe. Here the fear of unknown, fear of concealed things, fear of exposures of undue favors granted/undue injury done etc etc may be haunting some one. Otherwise I donot find anything wrong in wide opening the pages of history at least after 5 years or 10 years or 15 years or any prescribed period you name it with jjustifiable reason.

    I am surprised as to why Mr.AKAnntony, our Defence Minister is not supporting this view. Section 8(3) of our RTI Act has a silver-line. Architects of our RTI Act appears thought on this line and were bold enough to say that " matter which has taken place occured or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under Section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that Section " Unless someone muddle with this provision one cannot hide mugh due to this provision.[/quote]

  4. #4
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    Re: Declassify war records, say veterans



    [quote=colnrkurup;11190]Despite years' brooding still I fail tounderstand what secrecy is left after an event is over. If Country ' A ' has a plan to attack country ' B ' at a particular date and time, everything having any remotest connection with the attack has to be TOP SECRET. But after the attack is over, what is there to be hidden from public ? Same is the case with our war history. After the war is over, the public has every reason to know what happend and if there is a failure or success who was responsible for it lest the wrong man is not rewarded or punished for someone else's sacrifice/ blunders. Every soldier who participated in a paricular war must be having something to say. Let him say and let the people know it.

    Let the posterity learn the real lesson and not what the winner want them to believe. Here the fear of unknown, fear of concealed things, fear of exposures of undue favors granted/undue injury done etc etc may be haunting some one. Otherwise I donot find anything wrong in wide opening the pages of history at least after 5 years or 10 years or 15 years or any prescribed period you name it with jjustifiable reason.

    I am surprised as to why Mr.AK Antony, our Defence Minister is not supporting this view. Section 8(3) of our RTI Act has a silver-line. Architects of our RTI Act appears thought on this line and were bold enough to say that " matter which has taken place occured or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under Section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that Section " Unless someone muddle with this provision one cannot hide mugh due to this provision.

  5. #5

    Re: Declassify war records, say veterans



    1962 war records still not have been declassified

    I just received a from the ministry of Defence (history division) saying they cannot give me this information under 8 (1) (a) of RTI act

    I asked for the war records of 1962 Indo China war.

    Has anyone else had any luck with any other wars.....such as the kargil conflict or pakistan wars


    War records help in pin pointing scandles such as the Coffin scam of kargil

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    Re: Declassify war records, say veterans


    There are living monuments of such wars-the solidiers who faught those wars. But they are tongue-tied. I have given the reasons above. In the case of 1962 war, nothing will be forthcoming as disclosure of the information connected with 1962 war will defenitely affect the integrity of the dynasty who is responsible for the war. So long as WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA keep on reckoning India as the same dynasty, there is no way out.

  7. #7

    Re: Declassify war records, say veterans


    But then there was this high shot army brass who said that he would make 1962 was records public....
    I read it some where
    I guess here it is.....
    Its not been done yet
    Make war records of 1962 Sino-Indian conflict public: Army Chief - Hindustan Times

  8. Re: Declassify war records, say veterans


    if war records are opened up, would we not be risking divulging strategies, moles, espionage routes etc? just asking out of curiosity.



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