HomeLatest NewsSnubbing Modi, Biden likely to skip Indian Republic Day celebrations

Snubbing Modi, Biden likely to skip Indian Republic Day celebrations

Dozens of US lawmakers urge Biden to raise rights issues with Modi, letter shows

LONDON: US President Joe Biden likely to skip India’s Republic Day celebrations after the American authorities foiled India’s plot to kill pro-Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on the US soil.

Media reports say Biden was expected to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations but the US administration has told India that Biden is highly unlikely to visit after India’s terrorism plan on US soil was exposed by the US secret services in bombshell revelations last month that Indian agents plotted to kill the leading Sikh leader Pannun, who is founder of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and spokesman of Khalistan Referendum.

The US revealed that India was planning to kill Pannun even before his friend and pro-Khalistan Canadian national leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was assassinated in June this year.

In September, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Biden to be the chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2024.

India extended the invitation to the US president Biden as part of its preparations to host the Quad Leaders’ Summit in January next year.

An Indian government source told the media: “The Quad summit in India is proposed to be held later in 2024. We are looking for revised dates as the dates currently under consideration do not work with all the Quad partners.”

The Quad is a diplomatic network of the US, India, Japan and Australia.

A US National Security Council spokesperson on condition of anonymity said neither he nor the administration had “any travel announcements to preview at this time”.

Speaking about India and America’s relationship just a few days ago, Garcetti had said: “To make this romantic, it is like our Facebook status for a long time was ‘it’s complicated’. Now we are dating.”

This week, a top FBI director is visiting India to raise questions with India on its plans to kill Pannun on US soil. Earlier this week, pro-Khalistan activists held a huge march on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco chanting slogans: “FBI, FBI – You Are Right – Modi Is Behind Murder Plots”.

Over 1000 cars and trucks carrying Khalistan flags and “Wanted” banners with pictures of “Modi-Jaishankar-Sandhu” clogged Interstate I-80 to Highway 101 leading to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, in one of the largest such demonstrations.

The Sikhs said they had assembled to support the American and Canadian investigations into India’s assassination plan against pro-Khalistan Sikhs. The rally was organised by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) which is running the Khalistan Referendum voting campaign.

SFJ General Counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun stated: “Modi cannot hide behind the sovereign immunity forever. We will get him arrested, prosecuted and convicted under international law for his crimes against pro-Khalistan Sikhs, Kashmiri Muslims and Christians in Manipur.”

Pannun said the assassination plot charges against Nikhil Gupta and other Indian state officials by the US authorities are in fact charges against Narendra Modi.

On November 29, the US announced the filing of murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta in connection with his participation in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun.

US Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a US citizen of Indian origin (Pannun) who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs, an ethnoreligious minority group in India. I am grateful that my Office and our law enforcement partners neutralised this deadly and outrageous threat. We will not tolerate efforts to assassinate US citizens on US soil, and stand ready to investigate, thwart, and prosecute anyone who seeks to harm and silence Americans here or abroad.”

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G Olsen said: “The dedicated law enforcement agents and prosecutors in this case foiled and exposed a dangerous plot to assassinate a US citizen on US soil. The Department of Justice will be relentless in using the full reach of our authorities to pursue accountability for lethal plotting emanating from overseas.”

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