I doubt Thatcher played a role in Operation Bluestar: Mark Tully
Former BBC bureau chief and author of 'Amritsar
"As far as I know, there was no role, and these reports are not confirmed yet. There is just one MP who claimed it, so, it cannot be taken as a fact," said Tully.
"Also, there are a few reasons because of which I am doubtful about this. Firstly, at that time, the relations between Britain and India were very bad. The Indian Government was dissatisfied with the kind of cooperation they got from the British Police in dealing with members of the Khalistan Movement," he said.
"When I wrote my book on Amritsar, I consulted the British military attache at that time. He said that in all of his time in India, he spent a lot of time trying to persuade the Indian Government to make use of the experience that the British had with a similar movement in Northern Ireland, but he got nowhere with it," he added.
He said it was not planned as a commando movement, and the SAS are commandos, and very soon, Operation Bluestar turned into a full-scaled infantry operation with tanks, and that it would be the last sort of thing the SAS would be involved in.
He added that if British intelligence officers were involved in it, they did a very bad job, as the one of the main reasons for the failure of Operation Bluestar was a total failure of intelligence.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has directed his Cabinet Secretary to establish the facts behind claims that Margaret Thatcher's Government may have helped Indira Gandhi plan Operation Bluestar in 1984.
Labour MP Tom Watson and Lord Indarjit Singh had demanded an explanation after recently declassified documents indicated that Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) officials had been dispatched to help India on the planning on the raid of the Golden Temple to take out militants from the shrine, an operation left more than 1,000 people dead.
"These events led to a tragic loss of life and we understand the very legitimate concerns that these papers will raise. The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Secretary to look into this case urgently and establish the facts," a UK government spokesperson said in a statement issued in London on Monday night, according to reports.
"The PM and the Foreign Secretary were unaware of these papers prior to publication. Any requests today for advice from foreign governments are always evaluated carefully with full ministerial oversight and appropriate legal advice," he added.
(Posted on 15-01-2014)