India stalls trade talks over UK’s failure to condemn Sikh extremists: Report
British daily The Times reported the UK government has condemned the attack on the Indian high commission in London last month, but New Delhi wants it to go further
India has accused Britain of failing to condemn a Sikh extremist group that attacked the Indian high commission in London last month and stalled trade negotiations between the two countries, British daily The Times reported on Monday.
Pro-Khalistan activists pulled down the Indian flag at the high commission during a protest on March 20 and prompted the external affairs ministry in New Delhi to summon the senior-most British diplomat, deputy high commissioner Christina Scott, to lodge a protest.
The Times reported the UK government has condemned the attack, but the Indian government wants it to go further and publicly condemn the group.
It cited senior British government sources and said that India has “disengaged” from trade talks and made it clear that there would be no progress without a public condemnation of the Khalistan movement.
HT has reached out to the concerned Indian ministries for comments and this report will be updated when they respond.
Britain and India launched free trade agreement talks in New Delhi In January. They were expected to wrap up a deal by the end of the year to boost annual bilateral trade.
Britain has made the deal one of its post-Brexit priorities and said it could almost double British exports to India.
India last month said it expected the UK government to take “immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute each one of those involved” in the attack on the mission and to put in place “stringent measures” to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
Videos earlier showed a small group of pro-Khalistan activists protesting and shouting anti-India slogans outside the Indian mission. Several protestors carried the yellow and black Khalistan flag and some had posters calling for radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh to be “freed”.
The videos showed one of the protestors clambering onto a balcony and pulling down the Indian flag from a pole at the front of the high commission to cheers from the other men.
British policemen arrived on the scene and prevented the protestors from approaching an entrance of the Indian high commission.
The protests came as police in Punjab launched a hunt to arrest Amritpal Singh, who has been declared a fugitive and has been on the run.
There have been similar protests and acts of vandalism outside the Indian mission in London in recent years. The Indian side has also protested to the governments of Australia and Canada over the activities of pro-Khalistan activists and groups, including acts of vandalism at temples and the holding of a so-called “Khalistan referendum” by Sikhs For Justice, which is proscribed in India.