Seek accountability from India in Pannun matter: US

Washington/New Delhi, June 27 (UNI) The US has held constructive dialogue with India on the alleged plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and made clear that they seek accountability from New Delhi in the matter, a top US official has said.

US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said that they’ve raised the issue at the most senior levels with the Indian government and that India has been responsive to Washington’s concerns.

“Well, first of all, let me just say that we have had constructive dialogue with India on this topic, and I would say that they have been responsive to our concerns. 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.

“And I would just simply say that we raised this issue directly with Indian governments at the – with the Indian Government at the most senior levels between our two countries,” he said at a special briefing.

To another question on reports that the plot could have been the handiwork of rogue elements, he said:

“I will say that we also believe that Indian colleagues are looking carefully at what potential institutional reforms might be necessary in the wake of some of these allegations and reports that you’ve described. So look, those discussions continue between the United States and India, and I think anything further is likely to come through law enforcement channels.”

In November last year, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Pannun.

Pannun, who is wanted in India on terror charges, holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada. He has been designated as a terrorist by the Union Home Ministry.

Earlier this month, Nikhil Gupta, 52, was extradited from the Czech Republic to the US.

Gupta is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, a federal administrative detention facility.

Separately, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a briefing: “…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. They have announced that they are conducting an inquiry, and we will look forward to the results of that inquiry.”

In late April, the Washington Post in a report had named a RAW officer as allegedly involved in the failed attempt to kill Pannun in the US.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal dismissed as “unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations” the Washington Post report.

In a statement, Jaiswal said that a probe is on by a high-level committee set up by the Indian government to look into “security concerns shared by the US” and that “speculative and irresponsible comments on it are not helpful”.

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