‘Matter of concern’ says India on official’s involvement plot to kill Khalistani

NEW DELHI | Updated: 30 November, 2023 5:42 pm IST
Arindam Bagchi at the press briefing

NEW DELHI: On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs expressed concern over US government’s allegations of an Indian official being related with national Nikhil Gupta in a failed plot to assassinate Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi illustrated how these allegations contradict India’s foreign policy, while also highlighting the US sharing inputs on a nexus between organised criminals and terrorists. “As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court, allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said that this is also contrary to government policy. During the course of discussions with the US on bilateral security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to the nexus between organised criminals, gunrunners, terrorists and other extremists.”

US federal prosecutors on Wednesday, had charged an Indian national, identified as 52-year-old Nikhil Gupta, for his alleged involvement in a failed murder plot against Pannun on American soil. The indictment said that Gupta worked with an Indian government official to hire a hitman to allegedly kill the Sikhs for Justice chief. Allegedly, Gupta had agreed to pay an assassin $1,000,000 to kill the Khalistan leader.

 

Bagchi reiterated that a high level committee will be constituted to probe into the allegations, whereupon necessary action will be levied based on the inquiry’s findings. “We take such inputs very seriously and a high level inquiry committee has been constituted to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter. Necessary follow-up action will be taken based on the findings of the inquiry committee,” he said.

 

During the course of his briefing, the MEA spokesperson also attacked Canada for consistently providing space to anti-India extremists and violence. “They (Canada) have consistently given space to anti-India extremists and violence. That is at the heart of the issue. Our diplomatic representatives have borne the brunt of this. So we expect the Government of Canada to live up to their obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We have also seen interference in our internal affairs. This is obviously unacceptable,” Bagchi illustrated.

These developments may impact the relations between both India and the US, who were trying to create better proximity to deepen collaboration on issues such as counterterrorism and countering China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.

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