U.S. and Canada safe havens for declared terrorists

U.S. and Canada safe havens for declared terrorists


U.S. and Canada safe havens for declared terrorists

By Abhinandan Mishra

People manning vital offices of the security apparatus in Washington, DC have been made aware of the fact that Delhi is aware that Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun was close to a few senior officials in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who clearly saw Pannun as an important asset to create discord between the two countries.

The reasons for their desire to sow mistrust between Washington and Delhi is not clear, although it is obvious that both Moscow and Beijing would welcome any discord between the two biggest democracies.

Sources aware of the development told The Sunday Guardian that this assessment, backed by irrefutable evidence, was communicated to the top officials of the Joe Biden administration by Delhi a few months ago when the Biden administration raised the issue of the alleged murder plot against Pannun, an individual who holds both Canadian and US citizenship, which US officials claimed was being masterminded by people sitting in Delhi.

As is the case mostly, it is likely that a few apparently “rogue” officials within the CIA were handling Pannun and his anti-India activities without keeping the office of the American President or the National Security Advisor in the loop. This was likely being done to derail the growing closeness between India and the US.

The bilateral ties between the two nations are now hovering at unprecedented levels that have not gone down well with influential geopolitical blocs. The Sunday Guardian’s email to the CIA seeking a response on the developments, including its alleged relationship with Pannun, did not elicit any response.

The relationship between Delhi and Washington is being closely watched by global entities as even a slight fracture in the ties is likely to cause gigantic movements at multiple levels, including commerce, defence and geo-political alignments and cause issues for policy executors in Washington who are already battling a hostile Russia, China and countries aligned to both of them, including those promoting extreme ideologies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while responding to this entire issue for the first time while speaking to the Financial Times last week, stated that India was “deeply concerned about the activities of certain extremist groups based overseas” while adding that “these elements, under the guise of freedom of expression, have engaged in intimidation and incited violence”.

The PM thereby underscored the point that if constitutional offices in Western countries were going to turn a blind eye to incitement of violence against India under the garb of freedom of expression, India would register its disagreement, both in public and in private.

Interestingly, it was the Financial Times that had broken the story about the alleged plot to kill Pannun in its 23 November edition. The Financial Times had claimed that the Indian Prime Minister’s Office was apprised of this alleged plot to kill Pannun in June and then again in September when US President Joe Biden had visited India to participate in the G20 Summit.

It is pertinent to mention that India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval has met his US counterpart Jake Sullivan at least twice since June this year. In the second week of December, Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher A. Wray, who was on an official visit to India, said that the agency was doing “aggressive investigation” into the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco.

In March this year, a group of Khalistan supporters attacked and damaged the Indian consulate in San Francisco. The Indian consulate was again attacked in July. As yet, there is little sign of any seriousness on the part of the Biden administration to book the terrorists openly conspiring to mount attacks on India.

India in 2020 designated Pannun as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Pannun identifies himself as counsel of a group working closely with Pakistan entities, Sikhs for Justice, and moves freely in Canada and the US.

Neither country seems to find anything wrong in Pannun’s open incitement to violence and abundant evidence of his long time links to groups carrying out acts of violence and subversion.