Trajectory of India-US ties not impacted: Jaishankar on Pannun murder allegation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Trajectory of India-US ties not impacted: Jaishankar on Pannun murder allegation

May 10, 2024 06:47 PM IST

In November last year, the US accused an Indian national of plotting to kill Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, speaking on India's relations with the United States, said that the upward trajectory of the India-US ties was not at all impacted by the allegations levelled against India regarding the country's links to a failed assassination plot.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (PTI)
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (PTI)

He said to PTI on Thursday, “I do not think the fundamental course of the upward trajectory of India-US is impacted by this at all. I think that today, we have such a strong strategic convergence with the United States, including contributing to the global comments, maintaining peace and stability, driving the international economy, diversifying production, creating new supply chains, moving onto new technologies.”

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Read Here: Canada’s spy agency accuses India of ‘foreign interference and espionage activities’

In November last year, the US accused an Indian national of plotting to kill Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York. After the US made the accusations, India set up a committee to investigate the information provided in the case. Pannun, who is wanted in India for terrorism, is a citizen of both the US and Canada.

“The United States brought to our attention certain information in good faith because we also believe some of it has implications for our own system. We are investigating it.”

Jaishankar said that despite the allegations, the relationship between India and the US remains strong.

“I think, today, we have such a strong strategic convergence with the United States. I think the India-US account is a very, very solid one,” he said.

Jaishankar reiterated his stance on Canada hosting extremist and separatist nationals. He said, “What we have seen, to our regret, has been the direction of Canadian politics, where separatists and extremist forces, many of whom openly advocate violence, have been given political space in that country. And there are people in positions of prominence today in Canadian politics who actually espouse that kind of separatism and extremism. Whenever we have taken this up with the Canadians.. it is not a new issue... It has been going on almost for ten years, and they keep saying, oh 'we have freedom of speech'.”

Relations between India and Canada soured after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Indian government agents of being involved in the killing of pro-Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Nijjar was shot outside a gurdwara in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, in June 2023.

Read Here: India says Canada yet to provide evidence of its involvement in Nijjar killing

Jaishankar said that there were problems in the India-US relations in the past blaming the left-wing ideology. “There was a kind of left-wing ideology in this country which said let us not do too much with the US. It goes back to the Nehruvian-Krishna Menon time period. I think it went all the way till 2014. Maybe Atal ji's (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) government was an exception, but otherwise pretty much there were self-imposed constraints in our dealing with the US.”

However, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn't share such views.

“PM Modi doesn't share those and we have seen actually a much more robust, much more whole-hearted relationship with the US which is actually showing results on the ground.”

Talking about India's evolving approach to foreign politics under PM Modi, Jaishankar said that the country was focused on ‘Bharat comes first’ motto.

“When we look at an issue, we look at it from the point of view of Indian national interest. And if that Indian national interest means taking pressure, offending other countries or pushing back, we are prepared to do it. We are, for example, very, very focused on trying to get UN Security Council membership. This was not the case earlier. In fact, there was a time when, you know, the position of our government was that first let them accommodate China and then our turn will come.”

He also said that India was also majorly focused on issues relating to national security.

“Not only positioning wise, but in terms of friends and partners who will contribute to our national security and also in terms of the border infrastructure where there has been quite a remarkable transformation. The quality of the infrastructure today allows us to deploy troops on the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in a manner which we could not have done earlier.”

He added, “Every country wants good relations with its neighbours, but today our relations with China are not normal because peace and tranquility in the border areas has been disturbed. We continue to discuss it with the Chinese side, and I would say that we need to resolve those issues if the relationship is to come back to normal.”

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