'Nehru wanted Army scrapped'
Biography of a major general says Kashmir war saved Army from being abolished.Updated: Aug 26, 2006 13:32 IST
The Kashmir war saved the Indian Army from being scrapped, seems strange? Well, a biography of Major General AA "Jick" Rudra of the Indian Army by Major General DK "Monty" Palit claims so.
According to the book, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru blew his top when Lt General Sir Robert Lockhart, the first commander in chief of India took a strategic plan for a Government directive on defence policy.
"Shortly after independence, General Lockhart as the army chief took a strategic plan to the prime minister, asking for a government directive on the defence policy. He came back to Jick's office shell-shocked. When asked what happened, he replied, The PM took one look at my paper and blew his top. 'Rubbish! Total rubbish!' he shouted. 'We don't need a defence plan. Our policy is ahimsa (non-violence). We foresee no military threats. Scrap the army! The police are good enough to meet our security needs'," the Daily Times quotes the book as saying.
According to the book, Jick believed the Kashmir war saved the Indian Army.
"General Sir Douglas Gracie had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army and he and General Lockhart daily exchanged information about refugees traversing Punjab in both directions. One day in late October 1947, Gracie mentioned that he had had reports of tribesmen massing in the area of Attock-Rawalpindi. Both men knew that cross-border raids from Pakistan had been mounted against Poonch. Kashmir was not a part of the dominion of India and Lockhart felt that the tribesmen posed no threat to India. He did not pass on the information to the ministry or general staff," the paper said.
"When confronted by Nehru three months later, he admitted this and added that he may have been remiss. Nehru turned to him and asked the general if his sympathies were with Pakistan? Aghast, Lockhart replied, 'Mr prime minister if you have to ask me that question, I have no business being the commander-in-chief of your forces. I know that there is a boat leaving Bombay in a few days, carrying British officers and their families to England. I shall be on it'," it added.
According to the biography General Lockhart called up his Military Secretary Jick Rudra the next day, January 26 1948, and suggested he start looking around for a successor since he had resigned from his post.