New Delhi India investigates conspiracy to assassinate separatist leader after US complaints

India said Wednesday it had formed an investigative committee after the United States expressed concern about an alleged plot to assassinate one of its citizens of Indian origin, a known separatist leader of the Sikh religion

New Delhi India investigates conspiracy to assassinate separatist leader after US complaints

India said Wednesday it had formed an investigative committee after the United States expressed concern about an alleged plot to assassinate one of its citizens of Indian origin, a known separatist leader of the Sikh religion.

"On November 18, 2023, the Government of India constituted a high-level inquiry committee to investigate all relevant aspects," the Ministry of External Affairs of the Asian country said in a statement.

The Financial Times newspaper revealed on November 22 that Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, with citizenship of the US and Canada, and classified as a terrorist by India, was the target of an assassination plot that was dismantled by the US intelligence services.

That same day, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, revealed that Washington "is treating the issue with the utmost seriousness" and hopes that those responsible will be held accountable, statements that come after Canada accused India of being involved in the assassination of another separatist leader on its territory.

The US government took the matter to Indian authorities, Watson said in a statement, and they in turn stated that "activities of this nature are not part of their policy" and promised to investigate what happened.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said today that the alleged plan to assassinate the separatist leader was revealed by the US during the meeting of the defense and foreign ministers of both countries in New Delhi on November 10.

Indian authorities, however, downgraded Washington's concerns to "information about the nexus between organized criminals, arms traffickers, terrorists and others." "India takes this type of information very seriously, since it also affects our national security interests," Foreign Affairs indicated.

Pannun is the founder of Sikhs for Justice, a US-based organization accused by India of promoting terrorist acts and radicalizing youth in favor of the Khalistani separatist movement, which seeks the creation of an independent homeland for Sikhs in the Indian Punjab.

The leader of this organization in neighboring Canada was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a separatist leader of Indian origin and Canadian citizenship who was murdered last June.

In September, Trudeau implicated New Delhi in the murder and asked Indian authorities to collaborate in the investigation of the crime. India reacted by suspending visas and withdrawing immunity from 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats in the Asian country.