Did incorrect maps led to 1962 Indo-China war?
In the past, attempts to get the copies of the Henderson Brookes-Bhagat report using RTI have not met with success with the Central Information Commission (CIC) denying the appeal filed by the leading journalist and author Kuldip Nayyar.
Following the humiliating defeat from China in the war in 1962, Lieutenant General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier Prem Bhagat were asked to study the reasons for defeat and they compiled the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report in 1963 consisting of 28 volumes. This report carries the reasons for the defeat of the Indian Army in the 1962 war. It has been claimed that there are only two existing copies of the report - one with the Defence Secretary and the other with Chinese authorities.
Perhaps the only person outside the limited group of officials who got a reading of the report, the former Chief Information Commissioner at the Central Information Commission (CIC) Mr. Wajahat Habibullah has said that the report should not be declassified. He stated that the report on the role of the Indian army is so scathing that it would have a demoralising effect on the forces even now. As the Chief Information Commissioner, he had called for the copy of the report while deciding an appeal filed by the Mr. Nayyar.
Mr. Habibullah reportedly said that India had given maps with serious contradictions on the layout of the MacMohan Line to China. This led the Chinese to believe that one of the pickets being controlled by Indian forces in the Northeast was theirs as per one of the maps given to them. He refused to name the picket along the Arunachal Pradesh border with China. On 20th October, 1962, the Chinese army crossed over to occupy the border picket, which lead to open hostilities and escalated into a full-fledged war.
In 1914, the British had drawn down the 890 km long MacMohan Line to demarcate the Indo-China boundary which has been a matter of dispute.