Senior US officials visit India to discuss investigation into conspiracy to assassinate Sikhs
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department alleged that an Indian government official hatched a failed plot to kill a Sikh separatist on U.S. soil. The Justice Department also announced charges against a man accused of orchestrating the murder.
The target of the assassination is said to be Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the general counsel of the US-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). Pannun is a Sikh separatist and holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada.
India denied that government officials were involved in the assassination plot and said that such an assassination plot violated Indian government policy. The Indian government said last week it would launch a formal investigation into the concerns raised by the United States.
The issue is highly sensitive for both the United States and India as they try to forge closer ties in the face of a rising China. During his visit to India, U.S. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Feiner met with Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other government officials. The two sides also discussed developments in the Middle East, including the Israel-Kazakhstan war, post-war Gaza reconstruction plans, and recent attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea.
It is also noted that Canadian Sikh leader Nijal was shot and killed in June this year, and demonstrators gathered outside the Indian Embassy to protest. Furthermore, Canada expelled an Indian diplomat on September 18, accusing the Indian government of possible involvement in the assassination of a Canadian Sikh leader. The Indian government has denied these accusations and expelled Canadian diplomats, thus signaling a tense diplomatic situation between Canada and India.
The U.S. visit to India showcases the high-level discussions and investigations being carried out by both nations regarding the sensitive issue of the alleged assassination plot. As the investigations unfold, it remains to be seen how this issue will impact the diplomatic relations between the United States, India, and Canada.