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Alleged British involvement in Operation Blue Star
As per the startling revelations published in the British website, "Stop Deportation", Indira-Gandhi led Indian government sought British advice and possible help too in 1984 to remove many Sikh militants holed up inside the Golden Temple; the holiest shrine for Sikhs, worldwide.

The operation was later known as "Operation Blue Star". The whole events culminated in removal of many dreaded extremists from the shrine in June 1984 and later in the same year in the assassination of Ms. Gandhi by his Sikh bodyguards and thereafter in massive massacre of Sikhs in many parts of Northern India. The Punjab province is calm since around the mid-nineties of the last century. Sikhs have regained their mainstreamer status since then.

However, the senior Indian General in charge of the operation at the time, Lt. General Kuldeep Singh Brar, himself a Sikh, says that this story about British participation in the Operation Blue Star appears fiction to him. He says he did not know anything at the time and without him knowing it, was neither feasible nor possible.

If I understand a bit about India, I don’t think that the then Indian government needed much help from any nation, including that from the UK, to flush out Sikh extremists from the shrine but at the same time it indeed should have required moral and diplomatic support to the future Indian army operations. The argument should not be that Indian government sought any material support, not even logistical one, from British or for that matter any Western government: the fact is that most probably it did not.

But then, the British government would never write history wrongly. What the declassified documents reveal are events happening in and around February and not those in and around June 1984 when the actual operation took place. If further documents reveal the participation of British personnel in the implementation of the Operation Blue Star in any capacity then only such speculation should be considered confirmed.

But as I say Ms. Gandhi should have been seeking moral support from Margaret Thatcher government. After all there was great friendship and bonhomie between the two female Prime Ministers. Also, the UK along with the US has most numbers of Sikh immigrants globally.

Now the declassified documents instead of revealing much about the particular operation, reveals about how Indian government functions and about how constrained its hands are. India is West-staked since its very inception and it has never tried to become a member of the communist block. This is true in spite of lows in its relationship with the US in early 70s of the last century. The fact is that Indian government, its people and media alike are too much obsessed with the West.

I do not think that the inquiry ordered by the British Prime Minister, David Cameroon, would yield much for as far as ordinary Indians are concerned. Instead the revelation compels one to have reassessment of all past mishappenings from Indian perspectives, most notably that of debacle with China in 1962.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were probably very powerful at those times. Sure, things have changed for better as far as Indian people and their state is concerned. But still we Indians need to learn more about how our various governments function and constraints of what India terms as its commanding heights.

In addition, I think there is not much in probing individuals in probably the darkest episode in post-independence India after the partition mayhem. Indian Sikhs and diaspora should take it rather easily and try to be productive and mainstreamer as they have always been except partly for during the troubled period in Punjab. True, as per the majority of Sikhs living in Punjab and elsewhere around the world, the Operation Blue Star remains disputed. But Sikhs are one of the most nationalist communities in India and this fact should never be forgotten by anyone.

The BJP being a political party and poised to emerge as the single largest party in the upcoming general elections has good reasons to raise the issue. I think that the Indian National Congress should respond.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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