The White House has reacted to the Financial Times‘s report of India’s bid to assassinate a Khalistani supporter on American soil saying the issue was raised “at the senior-most levels” with India.
According to a report by Reuters, White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, “They (Indian government) stated that activity of this nature was not their policy…We understand they are further investigating this issue and will have more to say about it in the coming days,” adding that the US expects India to hold accountable anyone they deemed responsible for the act.
The Financial Times had earlier reported that the United States had issued a warning to the Indian government after they foiled an assassination attempt on a Sikh American citizen.
While it is still not clear regarding the intel over the alleged assassination attempt and how it was thwarted, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was made aware of the concern during his state visit in June.
The Financial Times had reported that Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American-Canadian citizen and a supporter of Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs, was the alleged target. In 2020, Pannun was declared an “individual terrorist” in India under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Pannum, on Thursday, November 23, released a statement saying he would let the United States respond to the threat. “The foiled attempt on my life on American soil by the Indian agents is transnational terrorism which is a threat to the US sovereignty, freedom of speech, and democracy. So I will let the US government respond to this threat,” Pannun, a US and Canadian citizen, said in a statement.
Indian government officials accused of Khalistani supporter’s murder in Canada
Just two months ago, a diplomatic row started between Canada and India after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged “there were credible allegations linking Indian agents to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.”
Trudeau’s statement was met with a stern refusal by India’s external affairs ministry calling it “absurd and motivated”.
After several hiccups in diplomatic relations, between the two countries, the tension is beginning to simmer down.