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regular-article-logo Thursday, 22 February 2024

Pannun case: Jaishankar says India formed inquiry committee following inputs from US

There will be "no equitable treatment" to Canada's allegations of a potential involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Khalistani extremist: Jaishankar

PTI New Delhi Published 07.12.23, 09:26 PM
S Jaishankar

S Jaishankar File photo

Days after Washington alleged an Indian link to a conspiracy to kill a Sikh separatist, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said India instituted an inquiry committee to look into the inputs received from the US in the case as the matter has a bearing on national security.

However, at the same time, Jaishankar told Rajya Sabha that there will be "no equitable treatment" to Canada's allegations of a potential involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a Khalistani extremist as no specific evidence or inputs were provided to India by Ottawa.

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"Insofar as the US is concerned, certain inputs were given to us as part of our security cooperation with the United States. Those inputs were of concern to us because they (were) related to the nexus of organised crime, trafficking and other matters," he said.

"Because they have a bearing on our own national security, it was decided to institute an inquiry into the matter and an inquiry committee has been constituted," he said.

Jaishankar's remarks came in response to a supplementary question on the US linking an Indian official on an alleged attempt to kill Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Asked why there was no equitable treatment with regard to charges made by the Canadian government, Jaishankar said: "Insofar as Canada is concerned, no specific evidence or inputs were provided to us. So the question of equitable treatment to two countries, one of whom has provided input and one of whom has not, does not arise." The US federal prosecutors have charged Nikhil Gupta of working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an explosive allegation of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil in June. India has strongly rejected the allegations.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing that US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray's upcoming visit to India should be seen in the context of overall cooperation between the two countries in areas of cyber-security, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics.

"As you are aware, we have robust security, cyber-security, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics cooperation with US agencies. We are also engaged in capacity-building programmes. So, as part of this ongoing bilateral cooperation, a visit by the FBI director in the works," he said.

Bagchi said the details for the FBI director's visit had been worked out with the US side over the course of the last few months.

To a question if the Pannun case will come up during Wray's visit, he said it is part of the ongoing dialogue process.

"I don't have a crystal ball. I am not going to get into what may or may not be discussed. At this moment, I have nothing further," he said.

Bagchi also said India has taken up with the US and Canada the recent threats made against India by Pannun.

Pannun, a leader of so called Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), last month released a video threatening passengers of Air India flights on November 19.

"We would condemn any threat of this nature. We take this seriously and are (taking) appropriate action," Bagchi said.

Asked about reports of some new threats including Pannun's new video threatening to attack India's Parliament, the MEA spokesperson said: "I don't want to amplify or give too much credence to such extremists who make threats and get a lot of (media) coverage." "But on the other hand, we take this seriously and in this particular case, I know that we (have) taken up this matter with the US and Canadian authorities." "We have flagged concerns to our partners about any threats made by extremists or terrorists against India, against Indian diplomats or properties, etc." "We do take it up from time to time, there is ongoing conversation, there is security cooperation, some of it we've seen results, some of it we haven't, this will be an ongoing process," he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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