In India, US official discusses alleged plot to kill Sikh separatist
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer led a U.S. delegation to New Delhi on Monday, where he acknowledged India’s formation of an investigative panel to look into an unsuccessful plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on U.S. soil. The White House stated on Monday that Mr. Finer recognized the establishment of the Committee of Enquiry by India to investigate the lethal plotting in the United States and emphasized the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible.
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department accused an Indian government official of directing the unsuccessful plot to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh separatist and dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Charges were announced against a man accused of orchestrating the attempted murder. India expressed concern about the linkage of one of its government officials to the plot, dissociating itself from the incident as against government policy. India committed to formally investigate the U.S. concerns and take necessary follow-up action based on the findings of the panel set up on Nov. 18.
A series of Allegations
The news of this incident comes two months after Canada made “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb—a claim that India has rejected. U.S. President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA Director Bill Burns, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have engaged with their Indian counterparts on this issue in recent weeks.
More to read:Putin to visit UAE and Saudi Arabia
The matter is sensitive for both India and the Biden administration as they seek to strengthen ties amid concerns about an assertive China perceived as a threat to both democracies. India has long complained about Sikh separatist groups outside its borders, considering them security threats. These groups advocate for Khalistan, an independent Sikh state carved out of India.
During his visit, Finer met with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Discussions included developments in the Middle East, such as the Israel-Hamas war, plans for a post-war Gaza, and recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, as stated by the White House on Monday