UK-India ties thriving, violence unacceptable: UK foreign secy amid pro-Khalistan protests
Protesters again targetted the Indian Mission in London on Wednesday as smoke flares and water bottles were thrown at the main gate. Wednesday's protest was contained as police kept a close watch on the protesters.
UK foreign secretary James Cleverly said India and UK share a thriving relationship driven by deep, personal connections. The violence towards the staff at the Indian High Commission is unacceptable and the UK government will ensure security at the Indian High Commission as the security of the foreign missions of all countries in the UK is a serious issue. The assurance comes as pro-Khalistani groups again protested outside the Indian high commission in London on Wednesday for hours throwing water bottles and smoke flares at the main gate of the high commission. The protest was foiled by the police who barricaded them and kept a close watch. Read | In India’s tit-for-tat move, barricades for security outside UK mission removed
The situation has become tense after Khalistani supporters on Sunday took down the Indian flag from atop the Indian high commission -- as a massive crackdown is going on in the country -- in Punjab -- against Amritpal Singh, a Khalistan sympathiser and a radical Sikh leader.
On Wednesday, India, in a tit-for-tat move, reduced the security outside the British high commission and the envoy's residence in New Delhi. There was, however, no official word on the issue. Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Jethmalani praised India's strong stand and said: “GOIs response to the tricolour desecration in London of downgrading security at the UK High Commision here reflects the outrage of all Indians. Most heartening is the clear message by the Sikh community worldwide that #Khalistan is the pipe dream of an ISI funded fringe.”
Assuring heightened security, the UK foreign secretary said, “We are working with the Metropolitan Police to review security at the Indian High Commission, and will make the changes needed to ensure the safety of its staff as we did for today’s demonstration. We will always take the security of the High Commission, and all foreign missions in the UK, extremely seriously, and prevent and robustly respond to incidents such as this.”
After the tricolour incident, India lodged a strong protest with the senior-most British envoy in India demanding the arrest of the perpetrators. A bigger national flag was on Wednesday spotted atop the consulate.