Mon, May 27, 2024

Russia supports India, queries US over lack of evidence in Pannun case

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 09th 2024 09:58 AM
Russia supports India, queries US over lack of evidence in Pannun case

Russia supports India, queries US over lack of evidence in Pannun case

Moscow, May 9: Dismissing US allegations against India regarding a thwarted assassination plot targeting Sikh preacher  Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the Russian Foreign Ministry has emphasised that Washington has yet to provide credible evidence implicating Indian citizens in the case.

Maria Zakharova, the official spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated during a briefing on Wednesday (local time) that, "According to the information we have, Washington has not yet provided any reliable evidence of the involvement of Indian citizens in the preparation of the murder of a certain GS Pannun. Speculation on this topic in the absence of evidence is unacceptable."

Zakharova criticised the US for its apparent lack of understanding of India's national mentality and historical context, suggesting that such allegations disrespect India as a sovereign state.

Responding to a media query about Moscow's reaction to accusations against an Indian official in the foiled "assassination" plot, Zakharova challenged 'The Washington Post' for its portrayal of India's actions, stating, "'The Washington Post', it seems to me, should use the term "repressive regime" and everything you quoted in relation to Washington. It is difficult to imagine a more repressive regime than Washington, both in domestic and international affairs."

She further elaborated, "Regular unfounded accusations by the United States against New Delhi (we see that they groundlessly accuse not only India but also many other states) of violating religious freedoms are a reflection of the United States' misunderstanding of the national mentality, the historical context of the development of the Indian state and disrespect for India as a state."

"This does not only apply to India. The reason is the desire to unbalance the internal political situation in India in order to complicate the general parliamentary elections taking place in the country. Of course, this is part of interference in India's internal affairs," she added.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an India-designated terrorist holding American and Canadian citizenship, was reportedly the target of the foiled assassination plot. The US Justice Department had previously unsealed an indictment against an Indian national in connection with the alleged plot.

In response, India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) rejected The Washington Post's report, terming it as "speculative and irresponsible." MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal emphasized that the ongoing investigation by a High-Level Committee established by the Indian government was addressing security concerns raised by the US government.

The Washington Post report alleged that an Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official, identified as Vikram Yadav, had directed Indian businessman Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to assassinate Pannun outside his New York residence. Gupta, currently in custody in the Czech Republic, faces extradition to the US.

According to the US Justice Department indictment, Gupta has been charged with murder-for-hire. However, India's Ministry of External Affairs has stated that linking an individual to an Indian official in a US court case contradicts government policy, and a high-level committee has been established to investigate the matter.


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