DEHLI, December 20 (NNI): India will look into any information it receives on its alleged links to a foiled plot to murder a Sikh separatist leader in the United States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Financial Times newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday.
The issue comes at a delicate juncture for both India and the Biden administration in the United States as they try to build closer ties in the face of shared concerns about China’s growing power.
“If someone gives us any information, we would definitely look into it,” Modi told the paper, as he played down any impact on diplomatic ties with Washington because of the issue.
“If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law.”
Last month the US Justice department said an Indian government official had directed the plot, and unveiled charges against a man accused of orchestrating the attempted murder.
India expressed concern about the linkage and dissociated itself from the plot, saying it would formally investigate the concerns of the United States, and take ‘necessary follow-up action’ on the findings of a panel set up on Nov. 18.
US officials have named the target of the attempted murder as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh separatist and dual citizen of the United States and Canada.
Pannun is the general counsel of Sikhs for Justice, a group that India labelled an “unlawful association” in 2019, citing its involvement in extremist activities. Subsequently, in 2020, India listed Pannun as an “individual terrorist.”
News of the US plot came two months after Canada said it was looking at credible allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, another Sikh separatist, in a Vancouver suburb.
India fiercely rejected Ottawa’s accusations.
Modi said India and Washington shared a “mature and stable partnership.”
“Security and counter-terrorism co-operation has been a key component of our partnership,” he said. “I don’t think it is appropriate to link a few incidents with diplomatic relations between the two countries.” NNI