US demands ‘accountability’ from India in alleged New York murder plotThe Indian government has launched a probe into US allegations over its involvement in a murder plot against Khalistan activist in New York Read Full Article at

Washington’s envoy to New Delhi warned that extrajudicial killings were a ‘red line’

The US ambassador to India has called for “accountability” from New Delhi regarding an alleged attempt to assassinate New York-based Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, whom the Indian government has designated as a terrorist.  Pannun leads Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), seeking to establish an independent state called Khalistan. 

Speaking at an even organized by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a New York-based think tank, Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti reiterated his warning that the alleged plot to kill the US-Canadian national on American soil was a “red line” for Washington. Garcetti referred to the case in the same manner in April in an interview with the news agency ANI. 

US federal prosecutors linked a New Delhi official to the foiled assassination attempt in their indictment in November last year. They also charged Nikhil Gupta, a New Delhi businessman, with trying to hire a killer to carry out the murder. Gupta was arrested in the Czech Republic and is awaiting extradition to the US. 

While New Delhi rejected the accusations, underscoring that “extrajudicial killings” were not its policy, it has appointed a high-level committee to probe “relevant aspects” of the case. 

“I would say the [US] administration is satisfied with the accountability that we’ve demanded on this because this is a red line for America, for our citizens, and a core part of what we need to do,” Garcetti stated.  “If there is any connection to state actors in that, there has to be accountability,” he added.

When asked how the case would affect the ties between the two nations, the ambassador noted that “this would be potentially the first big fight” in the relationship. Garcetti noted that the two countries are “suspicious of each other” and that bilateral ties were bound to “have hiccups.”

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US interfering in India’s internal affairs – Moscow

The Washington Post, in its report last month, identified the official who had allegedly masterminded the murder plot, alleging that his identity and affiliation “provide the most explicit evidence” that the assassination plot had been “directed from within the Indian spy service.”  New Delhi responded by slamming the report as “speculative and irresponsible.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, weighing in on the matter earlier this week, claimed that the US has not yet provided any “reliable evidence” of New Delhi’s involvement. “Speculation on this topic in the absence of evidence is unacceptable,” she underlined. She also accused Washington of attempting to “unbalance” India’s domestic politics to complicate the ongoing parliamentary elections. 

US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, however, denied the claims. “We don’t involve ourselves in elections in India as we don’t as we don’t involve ourselves in elections anywhere in the world,” Miller said during a briefing on Friday.

READ MORE: India slams Washington Post over ‘irresponsible’ reporting

Notably, Garcetti, while commenting on Russia-Indian relations, noted that it “frustrates” Washington that India “hasn’t been more outspoken” on the Ukraine crisis. “But remember, Russia, as the Soviet Union, was there [in India] when we weren’t, so there’s goodwill and history there. I’ve talked to so many Indians whose first foreign magazine they ever read, foreign food they ever ate was Russian,” he remarked. He also hinted that India, which has troubled borders with China and US ally Pakistan, thinks strategically when making foreign policy decisions.

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