Tuesday, October 2, 2012





Lt.Gen. (retd) K.S.Brar, who played a prominent  and courageous role in the military action code-named OP Blue Star in the Golden Temple in Amritsar in June 1984, was the target of a pre-planned and determined attack by unidentified elements in London on the night of September 30,2012.He escaped death.

2. In an interview to Sonia Singh of NDTV on the night of October 2,2012, his wife said that before they left India for London, the Army unit responsible for their physical security in India was informed of their travel plans and their planned stay at London.

3.Despite this, the British security agencies do not appear to have been informed of their visit to London either by the Indian High Commission in London or by the Indian intelligence agencies in order to ensure their protection till they returned to India.

4.Their physical security in India is taken care of by the Army. Their security during their foreign travels is the responsibility of our intelligence agencies and diplomatic missions.

5.For reasons that are not clear, neither our intelligence agencies nor our mission in London appear to have taken any action to ensure his protection. He escaped largely due to his bravery, alertness and military reflexes.

6. Many senior officers of the security forces---military and civilian--- have over the years played leadership roles in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. Some of them like those who played a role in Ops Blue Star in 1984 and Black Thunder in 1988 against Khalistani terrorists are vulnerable to retaliatory attacks by the terrorists.

7. Their security is taken care of by their units while they are still in service. After they retire, they are dependent on their units and the concerned civilian departments for their continued protection.

8. In retirement, military officers are more vulnerable than civilian officers. Retired civilian officers have a web of contacts in the civilian departments concerned and in the Ministry of External Affairs. They use these contacts to ensure security for them when they go abroad.

9. Military officers spend their career mostly in barracks or cantonments. They do not have that kind of contacts in the civilian security bureaucracy. They intimate their travel plans to the Army unit responsible for their security in India and presume that necessary follow-up action will be taken. That is what Gen.Brar seems to have done.

10. Shockingly, there does not appear to have been any follow-up action on his intimation. He and his wife found themselves without protection in London.

11. Nothing can be more embarrassing or distasteful for a military officer than to go around asking for physical security in retirement. They expect and presume that the Government in recognition of their brave role would do whatever needs to be done on its own to ensure their protection.

12.This was apparently not done in the case of Gen.Brar, one of the most vulnerable officers. The Government should  immediately hold a detailed enquiry into this and see that such instances of ineptitude are not repeated. ( 3-10-12)

(The  writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com  Twitter @SORBONNE75)

1 comment:

peter g. said...

It is well known that the British Govt has always been soft on Sikh militant groups, Khalistani activists and others of their ilk who hold British citizenship.Even in this case it is doubtful if they are ever going to go in for a thorough investigation into this attack on Gen.Brar. The British govt handout to the press says that Lt.Gen.Brar was attacked by some "burly men with long beards".Thats the end of it and we are not going to hear anything more about it.If his itinerary was known or had been conveyed to the Indian Mission in London, then it was their duty to liaise with the local authorities and request cover for the officer for the duration of his visit. It is obvious that the attackers must have shadowed him and hence will be aware of the location of the residence of his son/daughter.Hope the British govt. is taking appropriate action to ensure their safety.Since the attackers failed in their mission,it is not far fetched to think that his kith and kin could become targets for the attackers.