UK role in 1984 Golden Temple attack ‘purely advisory’ and had ‘limited impact’

Archana Venkatraman

UK’s assistance to the Indian government in Operation Blue Star of 1984 was purely advisory, limited and provided at an early stage in their planning, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Golden Temple Amritsar
Image: Wikimedia Commons (Oleg Yunakov)

Hague’s statements came after an investigation from the Cabinet Secretary was launched to determine Britain’s role military attack which took place in 1984 in Amritsar’s Golden Temple under PM Indira Gandhi’s command.

The Sikh community in the UK called for an independent investigation after two documents released to the public in the National Archives indicated that the-then British government sent a military officer to advise to the Indian government about their contingency planning.

Last month, PM David Cameron ordered an urgent investigation to determine why advice was provided to the Indian authorities, what the nature of that advice was, what impact it had on Operation Blue Star, and whether Parliament was misled.

The investigative officers’ search suggested a “very limited number of documents relating to Operation Blue Star,” Hague said.

The Cabinet Secretary’s report concludes that the UK military officer’s advice had limited impact on Operation Blue Star, he added.

“Nonetheless, we are keen to discuss concerns raised by the Sikh community,” Hague added.

"The Minister responsible for relations with India, My Rt Hon Friend the Member for East Devon, will discuss these with Sikh organisations.

This reflects the strong, positive relationship the government has with the British Sikh community which plays such a positive role in so many areas of our national life,” Hague concluded.

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