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'Indian, Soviet agencies foiled bid on Gorbachev's life'

Mikhail Gorbachev's ex-bodyguard claims a plot to assassinate the former Soviet leader by Afghan terrorists during his visit to New Delhi in 1987 was foiled.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Moscow
UPDATED ON JUL 10, 2008 09:28 PM IST

A plot to assassinate former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by "Afghan terrorists" during his visit to New Delhi in 1987 was foiled by the Indian security services along with the erstwhile intelligence agency KGB, his ex-bodyguard has claimed.

"We had concrete information about a terror group sent into India across the Pakistani border with the aim to scuttle the visit of the Soviet leader," Chief of the bodyguards department of the KGB, Maj Gen (Retd) Viktor Aleinikov, said in an interview to popular daily "Moskovsky Komsomolets" (MK).

It was quite a complex situation in India due to the 'Afghan syndrome' and presence of about one million Afghan refugees in the country, Aleinikov recalled.

"After crossing into India from Pakistan the terror group was to reach Delhi and the 9th Main Department (bodyguards department of KGB) approached the anti-terrorist 'Alfa' unit for help," Aleinikov said, adding that ten marksmen of KGB's 'Alfa' unit were dispatched to India to assist Gorbachev's bodyguards.

"Naturally, we had informed the Indian special services about our plans to deploy marksmen at select spots with special equipment along the road linking Palam airport and Rashtrapati Bhavan and other places to be visited by Gorbachev including Ashoka Hotel.

"As a result we achieved the task of providing security cover of the visit and Afghan terrorists were detained by our Indian colleagues," Aleinikov disclosed.

Due to the success of the Delhi operation, involvement of marksmen of the Alfa commando unit in security cover of the top Soviet leadership became customary after Gorbachev's India visit, according to Aleinikov.

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