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'India could have won '62 war'

Air Vice Marshal AK Tewary says India could have defeated China had the fire power of its Air Force been used.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2006 21:11 IST

India could have defeated China in the 1962 war had the combat power of its air force been used, a top serving officer has asserted, claiming that the then political-bureaucratic combine had sought US Air Force's help but had not even consulted the IAF chief on the issue.

"In the final analysis, the use of combat air power would have turned the tables on the Chinese and the 1962 war could well have been a debacle for China," Air Vice Marshal AK Tewary said in an article in 'Indian Defence Review'.

Quoting top military and bureaucratic leadership of that time, he said the "costly and catastrophic omission" of not using the combat air arm of the IAF was a result of several factors that "impinged on the decision-making process at the highest level", including the "influence" on the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, of Prof PMS Blackett, the then Advisor for Defence who was a Britisher, as well as the counsel of then US Ambassador John K Galbraith who "over-estimated the capability of the Chinese air force in the absence of proper air defence infrastructure in India".

Another factor was the analysis of then Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) BN Mullick, a close confidant of Nehru, that Chinese bombers would bomb Indian cities in response to the use if IAF's combat jets, Tewary said.

He pointed out that "since IB did not have the first hand knowledge (on Chinese air force capabilities), they sought help from 'our good friends (CIA)" which exaggerated the threat.