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'If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad...': PM Modi's first response over US allegations

"If someone gives us any information, we would definitely look into it. 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," PM Modi told FT.

Ajeet Kumar Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: December 20, 2023 11:55 IST
PM Narendra Modi
Image Source : PTI PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the first time, has reacted to the allegations levelled by the United States wherein the Biden administration claimed that an Indian government official was involved in a "failed" assassination plot of a Khalistani terrorist in the US. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, the Prime Minister said that he would “look into” any evidence. However, he added that a "few incidents" would not derail US-India ties. 

"If someone gives us any information, we would definitely look into it. 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," he told FT. 

The statement from PM Modi came a nearly month after the US federal prosecutors charged Nikhil Gupta, 52, allegedly working with an Indian government, was involved in the foiled plot to kill Khalistani terrorist Gurupatwant Singh Pannun. The US prosecutors informed a Manhattan court that authorities in the Czech Republic arrested and detained Gupta-- a claim that the Indian official vehemently rejected but raised "grave concerns" over the matter.

Extremist organisations are doing crimes under the guise of freedom of expression: PM

While speaking to the American media, the Prime Minister raised grave concerns over the soaring anti-India activities, especially by the "extremist groups" based overseas. Although he did not name the "Khalistani movement" in US and Canada, his statement resembled the recent threats posed by the extremist organisations, wherein they threatened him and top Indian officials including External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.

PM Modi opined that these organisations have been indulged in crimes under the guise of freedom of expression. "These elements, under the guise of freedom of expression, have engaged in intimidation and incited violence," he said.

He, however, asserted that there is strong bipartisan support for the strengthening of the relationship with the Biden administration. "Security and counter-terrorism co-operation has been a key component of our partnership. I don’t think it is appropriate to link a few incidents with diplomatic relations between the two countries," added PM Modi.

In recent months, US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Chief Christopher Wray visited India where he met Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Praveen Sood in the national capital. The high-profile visit came against the backdrop of an alleged "foiled" murder plot of the Khalistani terrorist.

Besides, in August, several other officials including the US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visited New Delhi, where the sources claimed the issue of Pannun was raised with the Indian officials,

Why PM Modi raised the Khalistani issue?

It is worth mentioning in recent months, Indian consulates, especially in the US and the UK were attacked and top bureaucrats were threatened to leave the country or face assassination. 

However, the relations between India and Canada are poised to a new low after an Indian-origin but Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was shot by unidentified men outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18. Nearly three months after the killing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abruptly appeared in the Canadian Parliament and alleged India's involvement in the killing of the Sikh separatist leader. The issue was also raised by Trudeu when he met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

This resulted in the visa suspension for a brief period but India expelled at least 41 Canadian diplomats, citing "parity". 

Also Read: FBI director meets CBI chief in Delhi, discuss 'foiled' murder plot of Pannun, extradition of 26/11 terrorists

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