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Indian Prime Minister Fires Defense Chief

Oct. 31, 1962 - Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (right) dismissed V.K. Krishna Menon (left) today as Minister of Defense and took over the direction of India’s armed forces himself. For India’s 72-year-old Prime Minister, the decision to remove Mr. Menon from control while the armed forces are fighting the Chinese Communists was agonizing. Mr. Nehru acted only after 10 days of merciless pressure from Indian politicians, the public, and army leaders. These factions accused Mr. Menon of having failed to foresee the Chinese attack and having failed to provide Indian troops with the modern guns they needed to survive. Mr. Menon, who has been widely criticized for his friendship with Communists, was ousted on the day that Indian street demonstrators attacked, looted, and set fire to the headquarters of the Communist party of India.


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