A lack of communication between Indian authorities appears to have led to the situation in which Lt Gen K S Brar (retd.) was left without protection during his near-fatal private visit to London.
Brar suffered knife injuries during an assault by four unidentified assailants on the Old Quebec Street near the busy Marble Arch area on Sunday night. He was discharged after medical treatment yesterday and is due to return to India.
The Indian high commission here was unaware of his visit, but the Mumbai-based Brar, as per standard practice, said Sunday night that he had informed local army authorities about exact details of his visit to London, including flight and hotel details.
"I don't inform the government, I inform the local military authorities...the military authorities in Bombay and Poona then inform Delhi, army headquarters, and I suppose they inform the ministry. So who is supposed to inform them, I don't know. I have no direct access to London," Brar told a television channel.
Speaking in New York, Union minister for External Affairs S M Krishna had said that Brar had not informed the Indian high commission and that nobody knew that he was in London.
Brar was on a private visit and hundreds of such visits take place, he said.
Recovering from the attack, Brar said he was now under heavy security in the London hotel, including personnel from Scotland and the military attaché from the Indian high commission. The hotel where he is staying had been cordoned off, he added.
"I did not have security in London but now there is a hell lot of security around me," he said.
Brar, who has been on the hit-list of various extremists organisations for his central role in Operation Blue Star in 1984, said he was convinced that the assault was a bid to assassinate him.
Operation Bluestar was aimed at flushing out Sikh terrorists led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale from the Golden Temple, who was demanding a separate state for Sikhs called Khalistan.
A decorated soldier, Brar saw action in the 1971 war with Pakistan, and was among the first to enter Dhaka when the Indian army forced Pakistani army into surrender.
General A S Vaidya who was the Army Chief in 1984 planned the highly controversial Operation Bluestar. Vaidya was shot dead in Pune in 1986.