|Illustration: Liu Rui/GT|
The Henderson Brooks Report is an investigative report compiled by the Indian government examining the country's defeat in the 1962 border war with China. Though no longer confidential, it is still classified top secret by New Delhi.
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.
Now the government is still attempting to conceal the contents of the report, citing its contents "are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value."
Indeed, the Sino-Indian border dispute is not only a key issue in their bilateral relations, but also an extremely sensitive topic in India's political circle.
India's military debacle once plunged the Congress party led by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru into unprecedented pressure and crisis.
Currently with the 16th 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 marginalized in Indian general elections.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has met vehement condemnation in its second term for sluggish economic growth, prohibitive inflation rate and flawed anti-corruption policies.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticized the incumbent government for refusing to declassify the report, in an attempt to promote its own influence and quell the arrogance of the Congress party.
Indian media outlets and public opinion also tend to perceive Sino-Indian relations through the prism of the border conflict of more than 50 years ago.
The border row has long been agitating China-India bilateral ties, but what is reassuring is that the two nations have already achieved fruitful results in this connection during the past more than three decades, including an agreement based on common consensus in 2005, two important negotiation mechanisms in 2003 and 2012 respectively, and three border pacts in 1993, 1996 and 2013.
It is fair to say that Beijing and New Delhi have made remarkable breakthroughs in addressing the perplexing border dispute.