Despite the fact of unsettled borders, skirmishes as far back as 1959, and the real possibility of war, there was grossly inadequate defence preparation and no contingency plan in place. Even assuming there had actually been no war, common sense dictated that allowing for its possibility, alternate plans, accounting for all contingencies, should have been in place. That also required intelligence inputs on the Chinese preparedness, their strategy and their weaknesses and strengths. While it seems China had sufficient knowledge on India on all aspects relevant to winning war against it through its network of agents; India’s intelligence was woefully poor. Here are glaring examples.

China declared unilateral ceasefire on 21 November 1962. However, even such an important announcement of China became known to the government belatedly. Wrote Kuldip Nayar:
“…A cavalcade of cars moved to the prime minister’s residence. Nehru had just woken up and was totally unaware of the Chinese offer. This was typical of our intelligence agencies and of the functioning of the government. Though the statement on the ceasefire had reached newspaper offices just before midnight, the government was unaware of it. Even the official spokesman whom the pressman awoke for a reaction expressed ignorance. What a way to fight a war, I thought.”

BG Verghese wrote in “The War We Lost”:
“Around midnight, a transistor with one of our colleagues crackled to life as Peking Radio announced a unilateral ceasefire and pull back to the pre-October ‘line of actual control’…Next morning, all the world carried the news, but AIR still had brave jawans gamely fighting the enemy as none had had the gumption to awaken Nehru and take his orders as the news was too big to handle otherwise! Indeed, during the preceding days, everyone from general to jawan to officials and the media was tuned into Radio Peking to find out what was going on in our own country.”

The above are only illustrative examples. When on critical matters you had no intelligence or prior information, what to speak of other matters. The life of our brave jawans came cheap. Just dump them in the war without any proper protective gear or arms, and without any intelligence on the enemy positions and preparation! With the strategic thinking and strategic planning itself being absent, where was the question of intelligence to assist those processes.


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