The attack on Sikhism's holiest shrine angered Sikhs around
the world who accused the Indian army of desecration. The death
toll remains disputed, with the Indian authorities putting it in
the hundreds and Sikh groups in the thousands.
The assault triggered the assassination of Indian Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi, who ordered the attack, when two Sikh bodyguards
killed her in revenge several months later.
Recently released British government papers from the time,
publicized by Tom Watson, an opposition Labour party lawmaker,
suggest Thatcher responded positively to an Indian government
request for advice on planning the attack and sent an officer
from the elite SAS special air service to help draw up a plan.
A spokesman for Cameron's office said on Tuesday the British
prime minister had ordered an investigation as a result.
"These events led to a tragic loss of life and we understand the
very legitimate concerns that these papers will raise," the
spokesman said. "The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet
Secretary to look into this case urgently and establish the
Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, is Britain's top civil
servant. Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague had been
unaware of the papers prior to their publication, the spokesman
Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India's foreign ministry, said
his government was only aware of the story from the media.
"We will take it up with our UK counterparts and seek more
information," he told Reuters TV.
(Reporting By Andrew Osborn; additional reporting by Frank Jack
in India; editing by Stephen Addison)
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