‘Have concerns but…’: Australian envoy on US allegation on Khalistani activists | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Have concerns but…’: Australian envoy on US allegation on Khalistani activists

Dec 13, 2023 08:37 PM IST

Indians and others who made Australia their home “can protest in a peaceful way” but this needs to be done in a way that “doesn’t bubble over into any law-breaking or violence, he said

NEW DELHI: In the wake of accusations by the US and Canada about an Indian link to plots targeting Khalistani leaders, Australian envoy Philip Green said on Wednesday his country has concerns about these “alleged activities” though Canberra and New Delhi are capable of managing such sensitive issues.

Australian high commissioner Philip Green made the remarks at an event organised by the Asia Society Policy Institute that focused on India-Australia relations (File Photo/X/AusCGBengaluru)
Australian high commissioner Philip Green made the remarks at an event organised by the Asia Society Policy Institute that focused on India-Australia relations (File Photo/X/AusCGBengaluru)

Green made the remarks while speaking at an event organised by the Asia Society Policy Institute that focused on India-Australia relations. While highlighting the positive role played by Indian-origin Australian citizens, he also said Canberra is used to handling “frictions” linked to migrant groups from different parts of the world.

While speaking on the overall India-Australia relationship, Green said: “We are also learning about each other at a deeper level, we’ve had our differences and we’re managing sensitive issues, including the concerns we have about alleged activities on US and Canadian territory.”

Though the envoy didn’t give details, it was clear he was referring to an indictment filed by US prosecutors that alleged an Indian national was linked to a failed plot to kill Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

During a question-and-answer session at the event, Green said Australia’s engagement with India on the issue of the US and Canadian allegations “is less as a Five Eyes partner [and] more as a friend of India”. He was referring to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that groups Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

“We discuss these issues sensitively and carefully behind closed doors. I don’t propose to go any further today than the statements that my foreign minister and our department have made about our anxieties over these matters,” he said, adding that bilateral relations are on a strong trajectory.

Australia takes the vandalisation of Hindu temples, allegedly by Khalistani elements, “as seriously as we would take any act in relation to any religious element in our society”, Green said.

The Australian police, intelligence, multicultural agencies and state authorities are deeply focused on this matter and have ensured that this has not “spilt over into anything truly troubling or serious”, he said.

“We are used to migrant groups from different parts of the world bringing with them some level of frictions between their communities. This is not a new phenomenon for us, and we are used to finding ways of ensuring that those frictions don’t bubble over into violence and lawlessness,” Green said.

Indians and others who have made Australia their home “can protest in a peaceful way” but this needs to be done in a way that “doesn’t bubble over into any law-breaking or violence”, he added.

Australia has more than 900,000 citizens of Indian origin, and the number of Australians with Indian ancestry more than doubled between 2011 and 2021. “India has surpassed China and New Zealand to become the third-largest country of birth for Australians, after Australia and England. Today, Indians are woven into the contemporary Australian story. That diaspora is educated, entrepreneurial and engaged,” Green said.

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