A commentary in a Chinese paper known for its hard-line views has hit out at the Congress-led UPA government for "attempting to conceal" the history of the 1962 war by barring the declassification of the Henderson Brooks war report.
"In the past, the Congress party once covered up the reality about the border contention with China, distorted the history and misled the general public, in a bid to safeguard its position as the ruling party as well as the moral and just image of India in the international community," said the commentary, authored by Wu Zhaoli, a scholar at the National Institute of International Strategy in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Now," it added, "the government is still attempting to conceal the contents of the [Henderson Brooks] report, citing its contents 'are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value'".
As The Hindu reported last month, a 126-page section of the first volume of the report, which includes an operational review of India’s failure in the war, was made public by veteran Australian journalist Neville Maxwell, who published it on his website.
While India has hit out at the move to release the still classified report, Chinese government has not commented on the release, ostensibly viewing it as an internal matter.
The commentary in the Global Times, a tabloid known for its nationalistic views, said the "military debacle once plunged the Congress party led by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru into unprecedented pressure and crisis".
"Currently with the Lok Sabha elections in full gear, Sino-Indian relations, and in particular the border dispute, may become a hot political issue even though foreign policy issues are often marginalised in Indian general elections," it suggested.
It said the current Congress-led government had "met vehement condemnation" over corruption, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had criticised the government "for refusing to declassify the report, in an attempt to promote its own influence and quell the arrogance of the Congress party".
The scholar said while the border remained a problem for ties, on the whole both countries had made "remarkable breakthroughs" by managing differences.