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Business News/ News / World/  Explained. India's contradictory response on assassination attempt claims of Nijjar, Pannun

Explained. India's contradictory response on assassination attempt claims of Nijjar, Pannun

The Indian government's response to the US's claim of an assassination attempt on a Khalistani separatist in the US stands in contrast to its reaction to Canada's allegation of Indian government involvement in the killing of a Khalistani terrorist in Canada.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (File) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (File) (HT_PRINT)

The United States reportedly thwarted an attempt to assassinate Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on US soil. The news came just days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in India booked the leader of banned outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). Pannun was booked for issuing threats to passengers of Air India flight in a video message. 

Right after US shared the information with India, New Delhi announced that they had taken the inputs ‘very seriously’, and that investigation into the matter had already begun. 

 The response from the Indian Government was quite contradictory to how the government reacted when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada has ‘credible allegation’ regarding Indian government's involvement in the killing of Canada-based Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. 

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Let's take a look

-Indian reacted significantly angrily when PM Trudeau made the announcement at the Canadian Parliament in September. The Ministry of External Affairs calling the allegations “absurd and motivated"

-This was followed by diplomat expulsion on both ends. Canada expelled an Indian diplomat posted in Ottawa, Delhi expelled a Canadian diplomat based in New Delhi.

-Further India forced Canada to withdraw 41 of its diplomats from its High Commission in New Delhi.

-India had also issued a travel advisory for Indian nationals travelling to Canada and cautioned students, professionals and tourists. It suspended visa services in Canada and also stopped e-visa services. The latter was later resumed. 

-However, the moment the Financial Times reported US bid to thawart an assassination attempt on Pannun, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for MEA, said, “During the course of recent discussions on India-US security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to the nexus between organised criminals, gun-runners, terrorists and others. The inputs are a cause of concern for both countries and they decided to take necessary follow-up action."

“On its part, India takes such inputs seriously since it impinges on our own national security interests as well. Issues in the context of US inputs are already being examined by relevant departments," he said.

-Notably, for Canada the Khalistani in question was dead, in case of US, the Khalistani in question was unharmed

-Further, Canada flagged a possible involvement of Indian Government in killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. However, US has not yet directly linked assassination attempt on Pannun to the Indian government.

-While India refused to co-operate with Canada in the investigation of Nijjar killing, and said that if some information is shared, then they will look into it, in case of US, India jumped to ‘examining’ claims

-India-US ties over the years have developed to now span strategy, defence, space, technology, economic, and people-to-people among others. The US is also looking to reduce labour dependency on China, by looking at India as an alternative

-Whether either side- India and US, can afford their ties getting bitter at this juncture will only eventually be understood. 

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Published: 24 Nov 2023, 09:31 PM IST
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