…the good is oft interr’d with their bones
Yasser Arafat was close to the Nehru-Gandhi family — and had personally warned Rajiv Gandhi of a plot to assassinate him during the 1991 election campaign.
2.10 By far, however, one of the most mysterious and yet unraveled threat perception revolves around a warning given by Chairman of PLO, Yasser Arafat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. This extremely significant piece of information was received by the Intelligence Bureau on 7th June 1991 and more details in this regard were received by R&AW in September 1991 from Tunis.
(Deposition of Shri S.A. Subbaiah, dt. 14.02.1996, p. 5) The information indicated that Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) had received intelligence reports from his sources in Israel and his European sources one month before the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi that there existed threats to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from LTTE or Sikh militants who, the sources mentioned, would eliminate Shri. Gandhi during the election period. Yasser Arafat’s sources also indicated that hostile powers from outside India may also attempt the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. As per information received by the intelligence agencies, Yasser Arafat had drawn the attention of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to this information. The Palestinian Ambassador in India had also spoken to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in this connection. Some enquiries to obtain specific details appear to have been made in this regard by the External Affairs Ministry with the PLO Ambassador in India, Khalid El Sheikh, but nothing worthwhile has emerged so far.
This was a prophetic threat perception directly conveyed to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi one month before his assassination and, therefore, in order to get to the bottom of the conspiracy, it is essential to conduct an enquiry into this definite indicator which discloses foreknowledge of foreign intelligence agencies regarding the event. [Jain Commission Report/India Today]
Unknown to the mass of Indians – and probably the world – Arafat provided invaluable services when Indira Gandhi sought him out in the 1980s to blunt the vicious anti-India propaganda carried out by Pakistan in the Arab world.
This was an additional reason New Delhi backed him to the hilt, even when a radical Palestinian revolt orchestrated by Syria threatened his leadership, and repeatedly hosted him, even if only for a few hours.
And he came frequently, always seeking out his many Indian friends, from leaders to intellectuals, and each time enjoying Indian cuisine, in particular the dal makhani.[New Indian Express]
India’s Cold War era interests found an ally in Yasser Arafat. When those interests changed substantially after the Cold War ended, so did the official relationship with Arafat and the PLO.