Justin Trudeau’s allegations that Indian intelligence agencies orchestrated the assassination of a Sikh leader on Canadian territory were just reinforced by the United States, which on Wednesday accused an Indian national of supporting the attempted assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in New York .
The target was on the same list as Indian-origin Canadian Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was killed on June 18 in the Surrey region of British Columbia, possibly by Indian government agents, Ottawa supports, citing “credible allegations.” The affair sparked a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his concerns. “I told Canadians in September how serious this is that we have credible allegations that India was involved in the death of a Canadian on Canadian soil. This shows how India needs to work with Canada, take these allegations seriously and follow up,” he said.
On Wednesday, the American justice system in Manhattan added grist to Ottawa’s mill by formally charging an Indian government employee with ordering the assassination of a leader of New York’s Sikh community last May. The document was submitted to court does not specify the name of this target, but last week, this Financial Times she called Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a founding attorney of the American organization Sikhs For Justice, which advocates for the creation of an independent state in India called Khalistan.
The defendant in this case is Nikhil Gupta, 52. He was arrested by Czech authorities on June 30 under the existing extradition treaty with the United States. He was allegedly hired by a “senior field officer” in charge of the Indian government’s intelligence agency to devise this macabre plan by tracking down a hitman himself. No luck: the killer he recruited in May was actually “an informant for the American security services” who helped foil the murder and expose the Indian government’s plot to the courts.
In September, I told Canadians how serious the problem is that we have credible allegations that India was involved in the death of a Canadian on Canadian soil. This shows the extent to which India needs to work with Canada, take these allegations seriously and investigate them.
The Indian government agent, during negotiations led by Nikhil Gupta, agreed to pay $100,000 to this alleged killer, of which $15,000 was paid to him as an advance on June 9, the American Department of Justice underlines, supporting the photo.
On June 19, 24 hours after the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, Mr. Gupta allegedly urged the alleged killer to end the life of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York, stating that the two Sikhs were on the same list. say American prosecutors. The document filed in court said that during high-level diplomatic talks between India and the United States in the first two weeks of June, the Indian national was ordered not to shoot down the target.
Nikhil Gupta is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and recruiting a hitman, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Since the discovery of this plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on its territory, the Biden administration has demanded accountability from India behind the scenes of diplomacy, expelling CIA Director William J. Burns last August, followed by Director New Delhi dispatched National Intelligence Agency Avril Haines in October Washington Post. As with Canada, the affair risks straining diplomatic, strategic and commercial relations between the two countries.
In early August, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan personally expressed concern about the assassination to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval during a meeting in another country in the region. “He stressed that India needs to investigate [le complot] and made it clear that the United States needed reassurance that this situation would not be repeated,” the American daily quoted a senior government official as saying.
In a press release, India neither confirmed the existence of an assassination plot on American soil nor the Indian government’s involvement in the project. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi clarified that his country took the US information “seriously” and set up a “high-level investigative commission” at the beginning of November to shed light on this matter.
Last October, Ottawa repatriated 41 of its 62 diplomats stationed in India. New Delhi was shocked by Justin Trudeau’s decision to make conspiracy allegations public in September and subsequently threatened to revoke her immunity.
Saturday, on air from CTV Network, India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, reiterated that his country was “absolutely” and “definitely” not involved in the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He incidentally recalled that India’s “main concern” regarding Canada is that “certain Canadian citizens are using the territory of Canada to launch attacks against sovereignty and territorial integrity.” [de l’Inde] ” he said, adding that this practice endangers the security of Indian diplomats and officials working in the country.
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