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Thatcher refused to congratulate India on 1983 World Cup win

London: The then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to send a congratulatory message to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after Team India's World Cup win in 1983 under the captaincy of Kapil Dev.With the
India TV Sports Desk January 17, 2014 10:13 IST
India TV Sports Desk
London: The then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to send a congratulatory message to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after Team India's World Cup win in 1983 under the captaincy of Kapil Dev.



With the declassification of secret documents of Margaret Thatcher under “PREM 19/1273” (codenamed because of Prime Minister) by the British National Archives in Kew, West London, this interest fact has come to light.

In one of the files, is one which shows Thatcher refusing to send a telegram congratulating Indira Gandhi on the Indian cricket team's feat in winning the World Cup at Lord's on June 25, 1983.

On the file, Thatcher scribbled a curt underlined “No” when the private secretary to the Foreign Secretary suggested that she should recognize the achievements of Kapil Dev and his team.

The note from J.E. Holmes, private secretary to the foreign secretary, to John Coles, private secretary at No. 10 Downing Street, on June 27, 1983 stated, “The Indian cricket team's success last Saturday in the final of the Prudential World Cup competition is being celebrated as a major event throughout India. A message of congratulation from the Prime Minister to Mrs Gandhi would give great pleasure to the latter and would also be seen as a compliment to India. A draft message in the form of a telegram to Delhi is enclosed.”

But Coles advised Margaret to reject the idea saying, ““I think this is a bit much. Do you want to send it?”

Thatcher in reply written “No”.

John Coles then replied formally to Holmes on June 28, 1983, “The Prime Minister feels that it would not be appropriate for her to send a message of congratulation to Mrs Gandhi about the Indian cricket team's success in the Prudential World Cup competition.”

“Congratulations on the Indian cricket team's splendid success in the World Cup series. This was an outstanding performance. The sportsmanship and skill shown by Kapil Dev and his team were a delight to all lovers of cricket.” This is the telegram that was drafted by J.E. Holmes which never got sent.