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IndiaIndia reacts to allegations of ‘its involvement’ in plot to kill Sikh...

India reacts to allegations of ‘its involvement’ in plot to kill Sikh separatist in US


New Delhi, Nov 23 : United States authorities thwarted a plot to kill a Sikh separatist in the United States and issued a warning to over concerns the government in New Delhi was involved, a senior Biden administration official said.

The US is treating the plot with utmost seriousness and has raised the issue with the Indian government “at the senior-most levels,” the White House said on Wednesday.

The Financial Times first reported the plot.

White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Indian officials expressed “surprise and concern” when they were informed.

“We are treating the issue with utmost seriousness, and it has been raised by the US government with the Indian government, including at the senior-most levels,” Watson said.

“They stated that activity of this nature was not their policy…We understand the Indian government is investigating the issue and will have more to say about it in the coming days. We have conveyed our expectation that anyone deemed responsible should be held accountable,” she said.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who says he is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, was the target of the foiled plot, according to the senior administration official.

News of the incident comes two months after Canada said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a Vancouver suburb, something India has rejected.

India's anti-terror agency filed a case against Pannun on Monday stating that he warned flag carrier Air India passengers in video messages shared on social media this month that their lives were in danger.

The issue is a highly delicate one for the Biden administration, which has been working to develop close relations with India given shared concerns about China's rising power.

Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said when asked about the FT report that Washington had shared “some inputs” that were being “examined by relevant departments”.

Bagchi said the inputs pertained to the “nexus between organised criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others”. “India takes such inputs seriously since it impinges on our own security interests as well,” he said.

The FT said its sources did not say if the US protest to India resulted in the plot being abandoned, or if it was foiled by the FBI.

Biden is currently vacationing on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket for the US Thanksgiving holiday.

Apart from the diplomatic warning to India, US federal prosecutors have also filed a sealed indictment against at least one suspect in a New York district court, the FT said.

The US Justice Department declined to comment.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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