US foiled Indian assassination bid on pro-Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on its soil: FT

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh leader pictured during a media conference. — Reporter
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh leader pictured during a media conference. — Reporter

US officials foiled India’s attempt to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh leader on US territory and cautioned India’s government about possible involvement in the scheme, as per many individuals acquainted with the matter.

The conspiracy targeted Pannun, a dual citizen of the United States and Canada who serves as general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, a US-based organisation that supports the creation of an independent Sikh state known as “Khalistan.”

The persons with knowledge of the matter, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the intelligence that triggered the warning, did not disclose whether the plotters abandoned their plan as a result of the demonstration in New Delhi or whether the FBI interfered and stopped an already-initiated scheme.

Following the June assassination of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver, the US notified a few allies of the plot. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in September that there were “credible allegations” tying New Dehli to Nijjar’s fatal shooting.

According to a person with knowledge of the matter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-profile state visit to Washington in June prompted the US complaint.

US federal prosecutors have filed a secret indictment against at least one accused plan participant in a New York district court, independent of the diplomatic warning.

The US Department of Justice is discussing whether to release the indictment and make the accusations public or to hold off until Canada has completed its inquiry into the death of Nijjar. 

According to those familiar with the proceedings, one of the individuals named in the indictment may have fled the United States, further complicating the case.

Both the FBI and the US Department of Justice declined to comment. “Upholding the safety and security of US citizens is paramount,” the National Security Council stated, adding that the US “does not comment on ongoing law enforcement matters or private diplomatic discussions with our partners.”

After Trudeau made the circumstances of the Vancouver homicide public, Washington disclosed the Pannun case to a larger coalition of allies, raising concerns about a potential pattern of conduct.

Canada’s allegations that New Delhi may have been involved in Nijjar’s death have been dismissed by India as “absurd.”

The Indian government of External Affairs was questioned about the matter by Modi’s office; the government declined to respond.

When contacted by the Financial Times, Pannun said he would “let the US government respond to the issue of threats to my life on American soil from the Indian operatives,” declining to comment on whether or not he had received a warning from US officials about the plot.

“The threat to an American citizen on American soil is a challenge to America’s sovereignty, and I trust that the Biden administration is more than capable to handle any such challenge,” Pannun told the FT.

This month, Pannun released a video that infuriated Indian authorities by cautioning Sikhs from flying on Air India, citing it as a “life-threatening” option. He clarified to the FT that he was not threatening the airline with violence.

Washington has not publicly criticised New Delhi for the Vancouver case, but it has encouraged India to assist the Canadian inquiry. India, which is in the Quad security group with Australia and Japan, is seen by the Biden administration as an essential component of a larger plan to confront China.

According to many sources with knowledge of the discussions within the Biden administration, officials knew that if the US scheme and Washington’s objection to further Delhi were made public, it would raise further concerns regarding India’s reliability as a trusted partner.

Human rights organisations have criticised the Biden administration for its attempts to strengthen ties with India.

In addition, Human rights organisations and rival political parties have charged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with inciting violence against the country’s religious and ethnic minorities. Modi leads the country’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party.

This summer, the Indian prime minister was honoured in Washington and gave an address to Congress. 

President Joe Biden will discuss human rights with Modi, according to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, but the US-India partnership will be “one of the defining relationships of the 21st century,” Sullivan said before Biden’s arrival.

Biden brought up the Canadian charges with Modi during the September G20 meeting in India, according to a prior story by the Financial Times. Whether Biden brought up the Pannun issue with Modi in September was not disclosed by the White House.

Additionally, US ambassador to Canada David Cohen stated in September that the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada make up the intelligence-sharing network known as “Five Eyes,” which sent information about the Vancouver case to Ottawa.

India has charged that the UK, Canada, and other nations with sizable Indian diaspora populations are overly accepting of Sikh fighters, whom it often accuses of being “terrorists”.

In September, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar stated at a Hudson Institute event that Ottawa’s stance towards Sikh separatists was “very permissive” due to Canadian politics.

#foiled #Indian #assassination #bid #proKhalistan #leader #Gurpatwant #Pannun #soil

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top