In recent dialogues, the United States contributed insights into an intricate interconnection involving organized criminals, arms traffickers, and terrorists. This revelation transpired just hours subsequent to the disclosure by the Financial Times, asserting that American authorities successfully thwarted a conspiracy aimed at assassinating Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil.
Affirming this, the Joe Biden administration acknowledged that the U.S., at the highest echelons, communicated this concern to India, anticipating accountability for those identified as culpable. India, in response, expressed surprise and apprehension, disavowing any governmental endorsement of such actions and committed to conducting a thorough investigation.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) articulated these sentiments in reaction to the London-based newspaper’s report. This report intimated that the U.S. cautioned India against any participation in a scheme targeting Pannun, officially designated by the Indian government as a terrorist despite his dual American and Canadian citizenship.
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Within the recent deliberations on India-U.S. security collaboration, the U.S. shared intelligence about the interconnections among organized criminals, gun traffickers, terrorists, and related entities. These revelations raised mutual concerns, prompting both nations to decide on subsequent actions. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi emphasized the gravity of these inputs concerning Indian national security interests. He stated, “Issues stemming from U.S. inputs are presently under scrutiny by the pertinent departments.”
The FT report indicated uncertainty regarding whether these revelations influenced the conspirators to abandon their plot against Pannun or if the FBI intervened to thwart the scheme. Notably, the report suggested that the U.S. protest was issued following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-profile state visit to Washington in June.
This development unfolded two months after Canada asserted “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb. Despite New Delhi’s denial of these charges and the absence of corroborative evidence, the FT reported on the U.S. communication to India, disclosing that federal prosecutors have filed a sealed indictment against “one of the perpetrators of the plot” in the New York District Court. The U.S. Justice Department has yet to unseal this indictment.