The British military adviser who travelled to India in February 1984 believed that Indian security officials had not given much thought on how to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple beyond applying what he called the 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' principle.
A document dated February 23, 1984, released along with the inquiry report on Tuesday presents a brief summary of the military adviser's visit to India on the request of the Indira Gandhi government. He travelled to India between February 8 and 17, 1984, over three months before Operation Bluestar in June 1984.
The name of the officer has been redacted from the summary report, which says that he was flown to Amritsar by helicopter and made a ground reconnaisance of the Golden Temple complex on February 10. India had "put every facility at the disposal of their visitor", it says.
The summary goes on: It was clear to the officer that the Indians had not given much thought to how they should root out the extremists, beyond applying the 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' principle. With his own experience and study of this kind of problem, he was able to advise the Indians of a realistic and workable plan which Mrs Gandhi approved on her return from Moscow on February 16".
The note is written by BJP Fall, the private secretary to the foreign secretary, to FER Butler in the Prime Minister's Office.
Highlighting the need for utmost secrecy about the military adviser's visit, the note says that it was "vital that there should be no leak about the visit. If there were, it would be extremely embarrassing for both sides, and, if the leak sprang from us, the Indians would never forgive us".
The note adds that if and when the plan suggested by the military adviser was put into operation, "and if it went wrong, they should not be able to pin any blame on us".