WASHINGTON: White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer led a US delegation to New Delhi on Monday where he noted the formation of an investigative panel by India to probe an unsuccessful plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on US soil.

“Mr Finer acknowledged India’s establishment of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate lethal plotting in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible,” the White House said in a statement.

Finer met Indian foreign minister S. Jaishan­kar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Last week, the US Jus­tice Department alleged that an Indian government official directed an unsuccessful plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on US soil, while it announced charges against a man accused of orchestrating the attempted murder.

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.

In response, India expressed concern about one of its government officials being linked to the plot, from which it dissociated itself, as being against government policy.

India said last week it would formally investigate the concerns aired by the US, and take “necessary follow-up action” on the findings of a panel set up on Nov 18.

News of the incident came two months after Canada said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of another Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a Vancouver suburb, a contention India has rejected.

US President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA director Bill Burns and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have discussed this issue with their Indian counterparts in recent weeks.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2023

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