The recent media report suggesting a conspiracy to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a leader of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has prompted the Indian government to establish a high-level inquiry committee. The report, disclosed by The Financial Times and attributed to unnamed sources, indicated that US authorities had foiled the suspected plot and cautioned India regarding its potential connection.
Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry, confirmed the formation of the investigative committee on November 18. While not directly referencing Pannun or SFJ, Bagchi highlighted the government’s commitment to scrutinizing all “relevant aspects” related to the matter.
“During discussions on bilateral security cooperation with the US, certain inputs were shared concerning interlinks among organized criminals, arms traffickers, terrorists, and others,” stated Bagchi, emphasizing the Indian government’s serious consideration of such information due to its implications for national security.
He further disclosed, “In light of these concerns, the Government of India has constituted a high-level Enquiry Committee to comprehensively investigate the issue.” Bagchi reiterated that India would take appropriate actions based on the committee’s findings.
This report surfaces following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s earlier insinuation in September about a conceivable connection between Indian government entities and the assassination of another Khalistani leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India vehemently denied these allegations, labeling them as baseless. The fallout from these accusations led to a swift deterioration in India-Canada relations, marked by diplomatic expulsions and visa service suspensions.
During a recent visit to New Delhi, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged India to collaborate with Canada in the investigation into Nijjar’s killing, fostering a cooperative resolution between the two nations on this contentious issue.