Pannun assassination plot: US 'looking forward' to findings of India's inquiry

In November last year, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta of working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Pannun in New York
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 04:08 IST

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Washington: The US has said it is looking forward to the results of the Indian inquiry into the allegations that an Indian official was involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil.

In November last year, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta of working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Pannun in New York. Pannun, wanted in India on terror charges, holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada.

Gupta, who was arrested in the Czech Republic in June last year, was extradited to the US on June 14.

"They (Indian officials) have announced that they are conducting an inquiry, and we will look forward to the results of that inquiry," State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily news conference on Wednesday.

He was responding to a question on members of the Foreign Senate Foreign Relations Committee writing a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for a strong diplomatic response on the Indian government's involvement in an alleged assassination attempt on a US citizen on US soil.

Following the allegations, India appointed a high-level inquiry committee to look into the inputs provided by the US on the plot.

Miller said, "We will respond to those members privately as we always do. I won't speak to that here. But as pertains to the other issue, when this issue first arose, we made clear that we had raised it with the government of India and told them that we expected there to be a full investigation."

During a virtual media briefing on Wednesday on his and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's visit to India last week, US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said, the US has consistently pressed India for updates on the Indian investigation into the alleged foiled plot to kill Sikh separatist Pannun and made it clear that it seeks accountability in the case.

"We have had constructive dialogue with India on this topic and I would say that they have been responsive to our concerns," he said.

"We've made clear that we seek accountability from the Government of India and we have consistently asked for updates on the Indian committee of inquiry's investigations," Campbell said.

"And I would just simply say that we raised this issue directly with the Indian government...at the most senior levels between our two sides," he said.

He was replying to a question on whether the 'murder-for-hire' plot targeting Pannun was raised during meetings that he and Sullivan held with their Indian counterparts.

Responding to another question on the Lok Sabha elections in India, Miller said, "When it comes to the Indian elections, we have been quite clear on behalf of the United States government that we celebrate what was the largest exercise of democracy in the history of the world."

"It was an extraordinary achievement. And then when it comes to the outcome of the election, we obviously take no side. That's a question for the people of India to decide," Miller said.

Published 27 June 2024, 04:08 IST

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