Look forward to results of India’s probe: Blinken | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Look forward to results of India’s probe: Blinken

By, Washington
Dec 02, 2023 04:50 AM IST

Antony Blinken has praised India's decision to investigate allegations that an Indian official plotted to kill an American citizen on US soil.

In the wake of allegations that implicate an Indian official for plotting the killing of an American citizen on American soil, US secretary of state Antony Blinken has said that India’s decision to investigate the matter is “good and appropriate” and the US looked forward to the results of the investigation.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (REUTERS)

Separately, John Kirby, the US National Security Council (NSC) coordinator for strategic communication, while reiterating that the US took the issue very seriously and sought accountability, said that India remains a strategic partner and the US will continue to work to deepen the partnership.

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On Wednesday, the US department of justice unsealed an indictment filed by federal prosecutors against a man named Nikhil Gupta. The indictment alleged that a serving Indian government employee involved in intelligence and security affairs had assigned Gupta to hire hitmen — who turned out to be undercover agents for American law enforcement — to kill Pannun, a dual American-Canadian national who has been designated as a terrorist by the government of India. These remain allegations that are yet to be proven in a court of law.

At a press conference in Tel Aviv, a reporter asked Blinken if the US, in the context of first Canada’s allegations against India and now the indictment, was concerned that India was turning to tactics that “violate international human rights law to silence its critics around the world”.

Blinken chose not to get drawn in to making broader conclusions, stuck to the US-specific issue, and first said that this was an ongoing legal matter on which he couldn’t comment in detail.

“I can say that this is something we take very seriously. A number of us have raised this directly with the Indian government in past weeks. The government announced today that it was conducting an investigation, and that’s good and appropriate, and we look forward to seeing the results,” Blinken said.

Blinken’s reference to past conversations allude to what US officials have now confirmed was a set of engagements that kicked off in August at the levels of national security advisors, heads of intelligence agencies, foreign ministers, and heads of government. The US message to India has revolved around the need for accountability, the unacceptability of this behaviour, and the need for a commitment that it won’t be repeated again.

In a sign that different agencies within the US are coordinating closely on the messaging around the issue, Kirby of NSC said that US took the allegations in the investigation seriously. “And we are glad to see that the Indians are too announcing their own efforts to investigate this. And we have been clear that we want to see anybody that’s responsible for these alleged crimes to be held properly accountable.”

Kirby added, “I would just say two things. India remains a strategic partner and we are going to continue to work to improve and strengthen that strategic partnership with India. At the same time, we take this very seriously.”

India on Thursday described the case as a “matter of concern” and said follow-up action will be taken on the findings of an inquiry committee looking into the matter.

About two months before the emergence of media reports about the alleged plot to kill Pannun, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a diplomatic storm with his accusation of a link between Indian agents and the slaying of Nijjar. India and Canada both expelled a senior official each and New Delhi’s insistence on parity in diplomatic presence forced the Canadian side to withdraw 41 diplomats from the country.

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