|On the eve of
the Pacific War, Japan had no immediate plan for an invasion
of India. The military campaign it was preparing for in 1939-41
was limited to a defined area and was to stop on Burma's western
borders with India.
Japan's limited aim in 1941 was to enlist
the Indian communities' support in Southeast Asia for the
Japanese action against the western colonial powers. Japan
was aware that its position in the Far East and Southeast
Asia could not be defended for long as long as Britain had
its Indian Empire, the source of manpower for overseas expeditions
and immense resources for war.
Japan's Imperial General Headquarters, therefore,
approved of plans which would give support to the Indian freedom
movements in and out of India and undertake such peripheral
military strikes as would undermine the British position in
India without Japan's direct military involvement inside India.
At that stage, Japan had been engaged in a
long drawn-out war in China. Tokyo knew it could not cope
with another continental war which an invasion of India could
In October 1941, two months before Japan launched
the Southern Drive (or the Pacific War), Iwaichi Fujiwara,
formerly Director of Shita Kikan, the Army Liaison Organ,
secretly visited Bangkok to contact Giani Pritam Singh, then
Secretary General of the Indian Independence League.
At his first meeting, Pritam Singh "extolled"
the leadership quality of Subhas Chandra Bose who, the Giani
told Iwaichi Fujiwara, enjoyed the full support of Indians
in India. Bose was then in Berlin.
Pritam Singh pleaded with Fujiwara to make
travel arrangements for Subhas from Germany to East Asia to
lead the independence movement in South and Southeast Asia.
He (Pritam Singh) repeated this plea at every opportunity.
Major J K Bhonsle supported Pritam Singh's pleadings.
Japan's IGHQ was informed accordingly. "However,
the Imperial General Headquarters initially reacted coolly
to the idea
" Fujiwara wrote the IGHQ at that stage
did not have a "thorough understanding of and reasonable
interest in our Indian operations.
"Had Japan invited Netaji to move
to East Asia at least seven months earlier than it did (in
the Mohan Singh incident (of June 1942) would
have been averted, and our Indian operations would have progressed
more rapidly and more extensively." And, that the delay
in inviting Netaji to East Asia "was a matter of great