On February 3, 1956, Menon joined the Union Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio. In 1957 he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bombay, and in April of that year he was named minister of defence under Prime Minister Nehru.
Meanwhile, the politics of lies, deceit and falsehoods continued.
“I can tell this House that at no time since our independence, and of course before it, were our defence forces in better condition, in finer fettle, and with the background of our far greater industrial production…to help them, than they are today. I am not boasting about them or comparing them with any other country’s, but I am quite confident that our defence forces are well capable of looking after our security.” - Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru addressing the Lok Sabha on 25th November 1959.
When the Chinese attacked India in 1961-62, India was hardly prepared. It had been so poorly equipped - deliberately - that it was criminal. Read this account from the Battle of Namka Chu from Oct 10 to Nov 16, 1962 to fully understand the criminality.
Furthermore poor planning in the air drops did not help. Instead of snow clothes & ammo they got tent pegs, kerosene was dropped in 200L barrels. Many rolled down slopes and although some could be retrieved, many were given up. Especially high were losses from drops by C119s due to the higher speed of the aircraft. Meanwhile two platoons of MMGs from 6 Mahar and 34 Heavy Mortar Regiment reached Lumpu. The mortars had no ammo.
It wasn’t as if the Indian side did not know of what was happening. It did.
It was all ignored. Deliberately.
From the account in his book, Spy on the Roof of the World, Wignall appears to have willingly agreed to be a spy. But he didn’t tell the rest of his team. As it turned out, the Chinese were right when they arrested the three expedition members on the slopes of Nalkankar for being on a spying mission. Wignall managed to gather information even during his detention about a strategic highway the Chinese were building towards western Tibet, and an estimate of the garrison strength at Taklakot. But this information didn’t do the Indians much good, since Nehru and Menon ignored it and were caught unawares when the Sino-Indian war erupted in 1962 during which large numbers of Indian soldiers, including Nepali Gorkhas, were killed in the icy mountains of Arunachal Pradesh and Askai Chin. (Source
When General Thimayya had gone to Krishna Menon, the then Indian Defense Minister, to discuss the road being built by the Chinese way back in 1957, he met with rebuke instead!
Finance Minister Morarji Desai angrily set out to get the facts about the Red road. Cross-questioning India’s Army Chief of Staff. Lieut. General K. S. Thimayya, he asked when he first knew about the road. In 1957, said the general, and he had offered proposals to safeguard the security of India, but they were turned down by the Defense Minister, lean, rancorous V. K. Krishna Menon. “Why?” asked Desai. “Because,” replied Thimayya, “he said that the enemy was on the other side [i.e., Pakistan], not on this side.” (Source
The investment in installing Krishna Menon at the helm was paying off.
When Menon was the Indian High Commissioner in London in 1947, the MI6 had kept close tabs on him. This is what they wrote on him:
“Whatever his politics may be, and they appear to go fairly far to the Left, MENON is clearly dishonest, immoral an opportunist and an intriguer
…whether or not MENON´s retention as High Commissioner is the lesser of two evils, the relations between him and Miss TUNNARD…are of considerable importance.” (Source
The Ms Tunnard, mentioned in this communication was Krishna Menon’s mistress.