Emphasizing the robust partnership between India and the United States, the White House reiterated its commitment to a thorough investigation into the alleged plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist on U.S. soil. John Kirby, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, highlighted the strategic alliance between the two nations, acknowledging India's role in the Quad and collaboration on various security-related issues.
Addressing concerns about the impact of the allegations on bilateral ties and President Joe Biden's potential visit to India in 2024, Kirby stated, "India is a strategic partner. We are deepening that strategic partnership." However, he underscored the seriousness of the allegations and the need for a comprehensive investigation, asserting that those responsible must be held accountable.
The indictment of Indian national Nikhil Gupta in connection with the alleged plot to assassinate Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has raised questions about President Biden's attendance at Republic Day celebrations. While Kirby refrained from confirming any travel plans, he expressed satisfaction that Indian authorities are taking the issue seriously.
Kirby's remarks coincided with the visit of US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer to India, where he engaged in discussions with top Indian officials. FBI Director Christopher Wray is scheduled to visit India in the upcoming week, focusing on areas of bilateral cooperation, including cyber-security, counter-terrorism, and counter-narcotics.
Responding to queries about Wray's visit, the Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, affirmed its inclusion in the broader framework of bilateral cooperation. The investigation into Indian national Nikhil Gupta, accused of orchestrating the plot from India, remains under active scrutiny. The Indian government, expressing concern over the charges, has established a high-level Enquiry Committee to comprehensively examine the matter and pledged to take necessary actions based on the committee's findings.
(With Agency Inputs)