The United States is demanding accountability from India after thwarting an alleged conspiracy to assassinate

The United States is demanding accountability from India after thwarting an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a pro-Khalistan leader of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), on American soil last year. US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell revealed that he had raised the issue directly with senior levels of the Indian government.

Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national, was arrested in the Czech Republic in June last year for allegedly plotting the murder of Pannun, a US citizen and Sikh leader. Gupta, who was extradited to the US on June 14, pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court on June 17. Pannun leads Sikhs For Justice, a group that is banned in India.

Campbell, 65, emphasised the severity of the situation during a virtual interaction with Indian journalists from Washington. “An American citizen was targeted in the alleged plot,” he highlighted. He also noted that the US has engaged in “constructive dialogue” with India regarding the matter. “We’ve made clear that we seek accountability from the Government of India and we have consistently asked for updates on the Indian committee of inquiry’s investigations.”

The senior US official added, “We raised this issue directly with the Indian government…at the most senior levels between our two sides.” Campbell acknowledged that India has been responsive to US concerns and is considering necessary institutional reforms. “I will say that we also believe that Indian colleagues are looking carefully at what potential institutional reforms might be necessary,” he said.

According to US prosecutors, Gupta was instructed by an Indian government employee, identified as “CC-1”, to arrange Pannun’s assassination. Gupta allegedly contacted a person he believed to be a criminal associate, who was actually an undercover US law enforcement officer.

In response to these allegations, the Indian government established a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the matter. However, the findings have not been made public. Campbell noted that the issue was also raised during his recent visit to New Delhi with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Campbell stressed the ongoing nature of discussions between the US and India. “In the wake of these allegations and reports, so look those discussions continue between the United States and India and I think anything further is likely to come through law enforcement channels,” he stated.


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2024-06-27

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