White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer led a U.S. delegation to New Delhi on Monday where he noted the formation of an investigative panel by India to probe an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on U.S. soil.
"Mr. Finer acknowledged India's establishment of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate lethal plotting in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible," the White House said in a statement on Monday.
Finer met Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. They also discussed developments in the Middle East, including the Israel-Hamas war, plans for a post-war Gaza and recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, the White House said on Monday.
"Good to meet Principal Deputy NSA of the US Jon Finer this afternoon.Useful exchange of views on the global situation. Discussed taking our bilateral cooperation forward," Jaishankar posted on X.
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department alleged that an Indian government official directed an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Pannun on U.S. soil, while it announced charges against a man accused of orchestrating the attempted murder.
The US prosecutors announced murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta for involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun allegedly on behalf of an Indian government employee.
New York-based Pannun, who was not named in the indictment, is a designated terrorist in India and the legal counsel of banned Khalistan group, Sikhs For Justice. He is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.
Gupta was arrested by Czech authorities on June 30 in response to a request by the US under an extradition treaty, according to a statement issued by the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.
A resident of India, Gupta is alleged to be involved in international narcotics and weapons trafficking.
In response, India expressed concern about one of its government officials being linked to the plot, from which it dissociated itself, as being against government policy.
India said last week it would formally investigate the concerns aired by the U.S., and take "necessary follow-up action" on the findings of a panel set up on Nov. 18.
The issue is highly delicate for both India and the Biden administration as they try to build closer ties in the face of an ascendant China perceived as a threat for both democracies.
The Indian government has long complained about the presence of Sikh separatist groups outside India. New Delhi views them as security threats. The groups have kept alive the movement for Khalistan, or the demand for an independent Sikh state to be carved out of India.