WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (Reuters) – White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer led a U.S. delegation to New Delhi on Monday where he noted India’s formation of a commission of inquiry into investigate a failed plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on American soil.
“Mr. Finer recognized the creation by India of a commission of inquiry to investigate murderous plots in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible,” the statement said on Monday. White House in a press release.
Last week, the US Department of Justice alleged that an Indian government official led a plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on US soil, while announcing charges against a man accused of orchestrating the attempted murder.
U.S. officials named the target of the attempted murder as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh separatist and dual U.S.-Canadian citizen.
In response, India expressed concern that one of its government officials was linked to the plot, from which it disassociated itself as opposing government policy.
India said last week it would formally investigate concerns raised by the United States and take “necessary follow-up action” on the findings of a panel set up on November 18.
News of the incident came two months after Canada said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June killing of another Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a suburb of Vancouver, a claim that India has rejected.
US President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director Bill Burns and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have discussed the issue with their Indian counterparts in recent weeks.
The issue is very delicate for both India and the Biden administration, which are trying to build closer ties in the face of an ascendant China seen as a threat to both democracies.
The Indian government has long complained about the presence of Sikh separatist groups outside India. New Delhi considers them security threats. These groups kept alive the movement for Khalistan, or the demand for an independent Sikh state separate from India.
Finer met with Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. They also discussed developments in the Middle East, including the war between Israel and Hamas, post-war plans in Gaza and recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the White House announced Monday.
Kanishka Singh reporting in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.
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Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, primarily covering U.S. politics and domestic affairs in her current role. His breaking news coverage has covered a range of topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement; the American elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow-up investigations; the Brexit deal; Trade tensions between the United States and China; NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a site of religious conflict in his native India.