India constitutes high-level enquiry committee to probe US concerns on criminal nexus

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
Image Source : ANI Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said that it has constituted a high-level enquiry committee to look into all relevant aspects regarding the concerns shared by the United States on the nexus between organised criminals, terrorists, gun runners and others. This is in the context of earlier reports that claimed that the US thwarted an assassination attempt on Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and warned India of the concerns it shared.

“In this context, it is informed that on 18 November 2023, the Government of India constituted a high-level enquiry committee to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, adding that the Indian government will take ‘necessary follow-up action’ based on the findings of the committee.

Bagchi further said that the US shared those inputs on the criminal nexus during discussions on bilateral security cooperation and said that “India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on our national security interests”. 

Issues being examined: Bagchi

Last week, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that the US shared some inputs in connection with the nexus between organised criminals, terrorists, gun runners and others and that the information was being examined by relevant departments of the Indian government.

“During the course of recent discussions on India-US security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to the nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others. The inputs are a cause of concern for both countries and they decided to take necessary follow-up action,” said the MEA spokesperson.

In a recent interview, India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, said that the inputs had connections to India but not the Indian government, while asserting that India is investigating the matter as the information is “legally tenable”.

Who is Gurpatwant Singh Pannun?

Pannun is one of the prime leaders of the Khalistan movement and has been designated as a terrorist in India. He is the founder of the Khalistani organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ)

Recently, Pannun threatened the Indian government and Air India to blow up the flight on November 19. In a short video, Pannun appealed to Sikhs in the world not to travel by Air India from November 19, saying that it can be life-threatening. 

This was not the first time he threatened the Indian government to orchestrate a massive attack on India. Earlier last month, he threatened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to learn from the Israel-Palestine war and added a similar “reaction” unravels in India.

After Pannun’s latest Air India threat, Canada’s Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez said that the Canadian government has taken the threat very seriously and added that security agencies have been investigating the matter.

(with inputs from agencies)

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