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Issue No.: 561 | March 2014
 

Operation Bluestar & The British

Ashok Karnik
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The publication of 30-year old UK documents relating to Operation Bluestar created a storm in our media. Questions were raised how India could ask a foreign Government for assistance for attacking the Golden Temple. The documents purportedly revealed that Smt. IndiraGandhi  requested Margaret Thatcher, UK PM, to send experts of the Special Air Services (SAS), Britain’s specialized commando force, to help India plan the attack on the Golden Temple. Lt. General Brar who was the Chief of the army contingent which carried out the operation flatly denied any external help in either planning or conduct of the operation. He is obviously right as presence of any foreign commandos would have been noticed at that time since the operation was carried out in full public view. It is also not appreciated by the media that it was a military operation and not a secret, stealth operation in which the SAS specializes. The British Government has revealed that its help was minimal and only in advisory capacity. Still our opposition parties are demanding an apology from our Government for seeking foreign help and from the United Kingdom for meddling in India’s internal affairs. Their allegation regarding insult to India’s sovereignty is ill founded.

The explanation could be fairly simple if one stops seeing conspiracies everywhere. After the 1962 China debacle, India developed security related cooperation with some countries. Khalistan supporters were active in UK, Germany, Canada and a few other countries. India’s R&AW was liaising with these countries to track the separatist elements. Cooperation with each other in areas of mutual interest was and is common. B. Raman’s book, "Kaoboys of RAW” clearly mentions that two officers of Britain’s MI 5 visited the Golden Temple as tourists and gave their assessment of the situation to the Government of India. This does not mean that they planned the attack or participated in it. International cooperation against terrorism is a common practice. What is the harm in consulting experts while considering a delicate operation? India had no need for foreign collaboration in launching Operation Bluestar. It is not as if British forces landed in India to launch the attack. The operation was strategically well defined; the skill lay in not causing too much damage to life and property. That it did not work out that way is another story.

Every issue has at least two sides. A wise man examines all sides before coming to a conclusion. This is an attempt to present various sides of an issue so that a considered  opinion can be formed.

Readers are invited to email their points of view on serious issues of the day to ashokkarnik2001@yahoo.co.in

Readers who do not have the facility of a computer can also post (mail) their points of view on serious issues of the day to "Point Counter Point”, c/o Freedom First, 3rd floor, Army & Navy Building, 148, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai, 400001.
 
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