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White House acknowledges India’s stand on Pannun assisination plot allegations

ANM Desk

In a recent development, the White House has acknowledged India’s seriousness in addressing allegations surrounding an assassination plot targeting Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the United States. While refraining from commenting on the ongoing FBI probe and the criminal case filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized the gravity of the situation during a press briefing.

Pannun, a prominent figure in the Khalistan movement advocating for a separate Sikh state, serves as the legal advisor and spokesperson for Sikhs for Justice, an organization championing this cause. The Indian government has labeled Pannun as a terrorist.

Responding to inquiries regarding a report by The Washington Post implicating an official from India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) named Vikram Yadav in the alleged plot, Jean-Pierre highlighted the ongoing investigation led by the DOJ. She stressed the importance of India as a strategic partner for the United States and reaffirmed the commitment to expand cooperation across various domains.

“We’ve been really consistent about that and have laid that out multiple times, whether it’s a meeting here with the prime minister or a meeting abroad,” said Jean-Pierre regarding the seriousness of the matter. “This is a serious matter and we’re taking that very very seriously. The Government of India has been very clear with us that they are taking this seriously and will investigate.”

The reported assassination plot targeting Pannun in the US occurred around the same time as the fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada’s British Columbia province. Western officials have linked both operations to Yadav. These incidents coincide with a series of violent acts in Pakistan, where several Sikh or Kashmiri separatists labeled as terrorists by the Narendra Modi government have been killed over the past two years.


India-U.S. Cooperation Amidst Allegations

Highlighting the significance of India-U.S. relations, Jean-Pierre underscored the importance of maintaining cooperation across various domains despite the allegations. Both countries have reaffirmed their commitment to expanding strategic partnerships, underscoring the importance of shared objectives in promoting regional stability and countering terrorism.

Despite the seriousness of the allegations, senior Indian government officials mentioned in The Washington Post report did not provide any response when approached for comment.

However, the Ministry of External Affairs in India has confirmed the formation of a high-level committee to investigate the information shared by the American side regarding the allegations. Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal stated, “We have set up a high-level committee. The committee is looking into information that was shared by the American side with us, because they also equally impact our national security.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized India’s commitment to safeguarding national security interests during the investigation into the alleged involvement of a government official in the plot against Pannun.

The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration has refrained from making charges against Yadav, further adding to the complexity of the situation.

As the investigation unfolds, both India and the United States are expected to maintain open communication and cooperation to address the allegations and ensure accountability. The outcome of the investigation could have significant implications for diplomatic relations between the two countries and the ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and promote stability in the region.


Complexities and Implications of Allegations

The alleged involvement of Indian officials in the plot against Pannun adds layers of complexity to the situation. With the Biden administration refraining from making charges against the implicated individuals, the investigation faces challenges in navigating diplomatic sensitivities and ensuring accountability. The outcome of the investigation could have far-reaching implications for bilateral relations and efforts to combat extremism and separatism.

The allegations underscore the challenges posed by extremism and separatist movements, highlighting the importance of international cooperation and vigilance in countering such threats. As the investigation progresses, stakeholders will closely monitor developments to ascertain the truth and take appropriate action in line with the principles of justice and security.

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