Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

UK’s assistance in Operation Bluestar ‘very limited’, concludes probe report

Margaret Thatcher with Indira Gandhi in New York on September 3, 1983. Express Archive Margaret Thatcher with Indira Gandhi in New York on September 3, 1983. Express Archive
London | Posted: February 4, 2014 7:41 pm

British military’s role in the 1984 Operation Bluestar to flush out militants from the Golden Temple was “limited” and “purely advisory”, Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament on Tuesday.

Hague said the UK played no role in the actual operation that took place at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

In a statement on the conclusion of an inquiry into alleged British assistance provided by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Hague said, “The report concludes that the nature of the UK’s assistance was purely advisory, limited and provided to the Indian government at an early stage in their planning.”

An analysis of nearly 200 files and 23,000 documents has confirmed that a “single British military adviser” travelled to India between February 8 and 19, 1984, to advice Indian intelligence services on contingency plans that they were drawing up for operations against the armed dissidents in the temple complex, including ground reconnaissance of the site.

“The Cabinet Secretary’s report includes an analysis by current military staff of the extent to which the actual operation in June 1984 differed from the approach recommended in February by the UK military adviser. Operation Bluestar was a ground assault, without the element of surprise, and without a helicopter-borne element,” Hague said.

“The Cabinet Secretary’s report concludes that the UK military officer’s advice had limited impact on Operation Blue Star. This is consistent with the public statement on 15th January this year by the Operation commander, Lt Gen Brar, who said that ‘no one helped us in our planning or in the execution of the planning’,” he said.

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