Prime Minister Narendra Modi has responded to allegations of India’s involvement in a US murder plot, stating that the country will “definitely look into” any evidence presented. The US charged an Indian man in November for conspiring to murder a Sikh separatist leader in New York. Modi assured that these allegations will not strain relations between India and the US. This marks his first public statement on the issue, emphasizing India’s commitment to the rule of law. The attempted assassination targeted Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a dual US-Canadian citizen and vocal supporter of the Khalistan movement. Modi’s remarks come amid heightened diplomatic tensions between India, the US, and Canada over similar accusations.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Modi stated, “If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law.” The US alleges that an individual named Nikhil Gupta paid $100,000 in cash to a hitman to assassinate Pannun, claiming direction from an Indian government official. Pannun, designated a terrorist by India, denies the allegation and asserts his activism.
This development follows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing India of links to the murder of another Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was killed in Canada. India strongly denied the allegations, accusing Canada of sheltering “Khalistani terrorists and extremists.” Trudeau claimed he made the accusations to deter potential attacks in Canada after weeks of quiet diplomacy.
The recent diplomatic tensions risk straining India’s growing relationship with the US. Despite this, Modi expressed confidence in the strong bipartisan support for strengthening ties and dismissed linking “a few incidents” to overall diplomatic relations. He also voiced concerns about the activities of certain extremist groups operating overseas. The allegations and counter-accusations underscore the complex dynamics involving Sikh separatists and their impact on international relations.
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