KGB book claims spark India row

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There has been angry reaction within India's governing Congress party to claims the KGB infiltrated Indira Gandhi's government in the 1970s.

A former KBG official says in a new book that the Soviet intelligence agency had an extensive network of contacts in the government.

Congress party spokesmen say the allegations in the book are baseless and not worth commenting on.

Mrs Gandhi led three Congress governments before being assassinated.

'No evidence'

Excerpts of the new book, The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World, were widely published in the Indian press on Sunday.

In the book, ex-KGB worker Vasili Mitrokhin says the intelligence agency bribed Indian officials with millions of dollars, and used agents to persuade Mrs Gandhi to declare a state of emergency in 1975.

"We had scores of sources throughout the Indian government," the book quotes former KGB general Oleg Kalugin as saying.

"It seemed like the entire country was for sale."

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Kenneth T. Tellis - 9/21/2005

I am very surprised that this story of the KGbs infiltration of India was not released before. But what is all the more surprising is the no one should have expected the Indian government or politicians to openly admit that it did really happen.

One must expect that a country whose symbol is Baksheesh (gifts). From the partition of India in August 1947 to date nothing has changed in that country. As for money given by the KGB to Indira Gandhi, what makes it something special? She, like her father and any Indian politician knew how to get gifts. Whether they were gifts from the KGB or any other source was of no real consequence to them.

Bribery is still a way of life in India, and I can assure that's not going to change any day soon.