Expect foreign authorities to act against Khalistani activists: Jaishankar | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Expect foreign authorities to act against Khalistani activists: Jaishankar

Feb 27, 2024 04:58 AM IST

Jaishankar said freedom of speech cannot extend to intimidating diplomats. This is not freedom of speech, this is misuse of freedom of speech,” he said.

NEW DELHI: India expects foreign authorities to act against Khalistani activists involved in activities such as violent protests or acts of arson targeting Indian missions, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Monday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said acts by Khalistani activists such as throwing smoke bombs at an embassy or consulates and “advocating violence and separatism against a friendly state” cannot be condoned under freedom of speech (ANI)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said acts by Khalistani activists such as throwing smoke bombs at an embassy or consulates and “advocating violence and separatism against a friendly state” cannot be condoned under freedom of speech (ANI)

Acts by Khalistani activists such as throwing smoke bombs at an embassy or consulates and “advocating violence and separatism against a friendly state” cannot be condoned under freedom of speech, Jaishankar said.

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In recent months, India has urged the governments of Australia, Canada, the UK and the US to take action against Khalistani supporters who have been involved in violent protests or arson targeting Indian missions. This has included violent protests outside the Indian high commission in London and an attempt to burn down the consulate in San Francisco.

“If a receiving state does not investigate and take action against someone who attacks our embassy and consulates, there is a message in it. I do not think it is good for any of these countries to send that kind of message for their own reputation,” Jaishankar told a media conclave.

“We expect the culprits in the attack on our consulate in San Francisco to be brought to book, we expect action against people who stormed into our high commission in London and we expect [action against] people who threaten our diplomats…,” he said.

Read: Hindu temple in US defaced with pro-Khalistani slogans, Jarnail Singh's name

Freedom of speech cannot extend to intimidating diplomats, Jaishankar said. “This is not freedom of speech, this is misuse of freedom of speech,” he added.

The high commission in London did not get the kind of protection which India expected, though things have since improved in the UK, Jaishankar said. “We find today that in many countries, we have had a much firmer response in Australia and in the US. We had an arson attack in the US but that is under investigation,” he said.

In the case of Canada, India had to suspend issuing visas to Canadian citizens because Indian diplomats were not safe going to work. “Our diplomats were repeatedly threatened, they were intimidated in many ways and we got very little comfort from the Canadian system at that time. It has improved since then,” he said.

“That part of it has been rectified. Today, our visa operations are pretty much normal,” he added.

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Jaishankar also spoke about the strained ties between India and China because of the military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since May 2020. He said both countries are rising and changing the world order through their rise.

“It makes it, therefore, very complicated to create an equilibrium. So it is like, this is dynamic, that is dynamic. How do they maintain stability while both are moving vis-a-vis the world order?” he said.

The two sides tried to maintain equilibrium through understandings in the 1990s to manage the LAC and the border areas and then to build the rest of the relationship, he said. They also sought to engage diplomatically, including the informal summits at Wuhan and Mamallapuram.

“In Mamallapuram, there was very frank talking between the leaders. But what happened in 2020 was China, for whatever reason, chose to move military forces in disregard of agreements. That called for a different response for the equilibrium,” he said.

India responded to China’s stance by moving its forces to the LAC. “So from 2020, you have an equilibrium, one part of which is the military posture in the border areas, one part of it today obviously is the political relationship impacted by this border situation, one part of it is also the economic measures that we have taken,” he added.

India is now focused on building deep strengths, including its defence industry and the ability to deploy on the borders, which can only be done by building infrastructure. “Frankly, till 2014, our average expenditure on the China border was about 3500 crore, today, it is almost 15,000 crore,” Jaishankar said.

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