London,UK: On Tuesday, foreign secretary William Hague presented a report in the House of Commons that revealed that Britain offered advice to the Indira Gandhi government before Operation Bluestar in 1984. But he said that the military operation mounted in June 1984 at Amritsar’s Golden Temple complex differed from the advice given by a British officer in February that year, which focused on the element of surprise and the use of helicopter-borne forces to flush out Sikh militants.
This disclosure confirms Indian commanders’ view that the military operation was carried out without British involvement.
The inquiry by cabinet secretary Jeremy Haywood was set up by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, following release of documents by the National Archives in January that suggested a British involvement in Operation Bluestar. The documents sparked much concern and reopened old wounds in the Sikh community.
The cabinet secretary’s report finds that the nature of the UK’s assistance was purely advisory, limited and provided to the Indian government at an early stage; that it had limited impact on the tragic events that unfolded at the temple three months later; that there was no link between the provision of this advice and defence sales; and that there is no record of the government receiving advance notice of the operation.”
“This is consistent with the public statement on January 15 this year by the operation commander, Lieutenant-General Brar, who said that ‘no one helped us in our planning or in the execution of the planning’.” Hague said there was no British involvement in subsequent operations in Punjab, such as Black Thunder, as well.