India, US hold talks over alleged plot to kill Sikh separatist leader

New Delhi, Dec 5 (EFE).- Officials from the United States and India held talks in New Delhi over the latter’s allegedly unsuccessful plan to kill a Sikh separatist leader on American soil, according to a White House Statement on Tuesday.

The visit by the US delegation, led by Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, took place on Monday, and came weeks after Canada accused New Delhi of the murder of another Sikh separatist leader.

The discussions were also expected to include topics such as bilateral cooperation on critical and emerging technology, said the White House statement.

“Mr. Finer acknowledged India’s establishment of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate lethal plotting in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible,” it said.

Last week, Washington said an Indian government employee schemed to assassinate a prominent Sikh leader in the US in a foiled murder-for-hire plot.

Last week, a US court formally charged Nikhil Gupta, 52, who had allegedly been commissioned by a senior Indian government official to take out the Sikh leader.

The plan was foiled after Gupta contacted an American undercover agent, believing him to be a hitman.

The indictment describes the Indian official, whose identity is unknown, as a senior field officer with intelligence and security responsibilities.

The official led Gupta in plotting the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American citizen of Indian origin, considered a terrorist by New Delhi.

Following the US complaint, India announced the creation of a high-level committee to investigate the facts and insisted that the case was a “matter of concern” which is against the policy of the Indian Government.

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 that seeks the creation of an independent homeland for Sikhs in the Indian state of Punjab.

The plot draws startling similarities with the alleged complicity of Indian government agents in the murder of another Sikh separatist leader in Canada in June.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told his parliament that he had credible allegations that the Indian government had plotted the execution of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, also of Indian origin.

Nijjar, an associate of Pannun, was an outspoken critic of the Indian government.

Trudeau implicated New Delhi in the murder and asked Indian authorities to collaborate in the investigation of the crime.

India responded by suspending visas and withdrawing immunity from 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats in the Asian country. EFE


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