A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India took a high note after the US shared inputs on security concerns regarding the nexus between criminals, terrorists, gun-runners and others during the recent bilateral meeting. A level inquiry panel has been constituted. “The Government of India will take necessary follow-up action based on the findings of the inquiry committee,” the statement said.
This comes a few days after the Financial Times report, in which, quoting unnamed officials, it was said that America has foiled a plot to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on the country’s soil. The UK-based newspaper also reported that the US government had issued a “warning” to India over concerns that New Delhi was “involved in a conspiracy” to eliminate Pannun.
An American and Canadian citizen, Pannun is the leader of the US-based Sikhs for Justice – which India has designated as a terrorist organisation. The newspaper quoted Pannun as refusing to say whether US officials had warned him about the alleged ination plot, saying he had “noticed the US government on the issue of threats to my life on US soil from Indian operatives”. Will let you answer”.
Last week, the External Affairs Ministry had talked about the “inputs” India received from the US regarding nexus. Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at the time that the inputs were a cause for concern for both countries and they “decided to take necessary follow-up action”. However, the Ministry of External Affairs made no mention of Pannun or the Financial Times report.
Bagchi said, “On our part, India takes such inputs seriously as it also impacts our own national security interests. The issues in the context of US inputs are already being examined by the relevant departments.” Later, White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson said India expressed “surprise and concern” after learning of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun’s alleged involvement in a conspiracy to inate him. India said that activity of this nature was “not their policy”.
Watson said, “We understand that the Indian government is investigating this issue further and will have more to say in the coming days. We have expressed our expectation that anyone deemed responsible should be held accountable.” ” A White House spokesperson said the US government has raised the matter with the Indian government at the highest level and it is being taken with the “extreme seriousness”.
The Financial Times report comes after Pannun earlier this month asked Sikhs not to fly on Air India planes on November 19 and thereafter, claiming that their lives were in danger. He also threatened that the airline would not be allowed to operate globally.
The report comes amid diplomatic tensions between India and Canada after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that agents linked to the Indian government were involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June this year. Khalistan supporters like Pannun, Nijjar were shot by unknown people in Surrey, Canada. India has strongly denied Trudeau’s allegations and the case has brought diplomatic relations between the two countries to an all-time low.