Biden Admin ‘satisfied’ with accountability it has demanded from India in Pannun case, says Garcetti | India News

WASHINGTON: The US is “satisfied” with the accountability it has demanded from India on the allegations that its officials were involved in an alleged plot to kill a Sikh separatist on American soil, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has said. In November last year, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
Pannun, wanted in India on terror charges, holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada. He has been designated as a terrorist by the Union Home Ministry under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“When I was referring to a relationship that might have bumps along the road, this would be potentially the first big fight in a relationship,” Garcetti said in response to a question at an event organised on Thursday by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank.
“And so far, knock on wood, I would say the administration is satisfied with the accountability that we’ve demanded on this, because this is a red line for America, for our citizens,” he said.
He said it was an ongoing criminal case.
“There’s an indictment that’s been brought. And if there is any connection to State actors in that, there has to be accountability. We expect that not only from our side, but we expect India to have that accountability,” he said.
“So, there’s been a commission of inquiry that India has brought together and that we expect, while we do the criminal case that is about American justice, that there need to be consequences and shared information,” he said.
“So far, one of the most difficult things you can do as an ambassador in diplomacy, I have been satisfied with what they have done. I think the administration is, but we have many steps still to go,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti appeared in a discussion with Michael Froman, the former US Trade Representative under the Obama Administration.
Froman said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is about to be re-elected, which everyone is reassuming.
Responding to a question on concerns being raised in certain quarters in the US about the human rights situation in India, Garcetti said this is not America’s responsibility.
“It is not America’s responsibility to fix India. It is America’s responsibility to engage with India, to promote our interests, and also to reflect our values,” Garcetti said.
“I can tell you it’s very strong. I think people from the outside say, they want a strategic relationship with India, so everybody’s looking the other way when it comes to human rights issues and stuff. It’s actually not true,” he said.
Whether it’s human rights reports or religious freedom reports, the US always discusses it with India.
“For instance, there’s been violence in a state called Manipur in India, where there is fighting between two different ethnic groups. I was asked in my second month or third month in India, what do you think about the violence there?
“I answered…because there are some horrible images we saw, women being dragged through the streets, people being killed and shot, churches and temples being burned, said, our hearts break as human beings when we see suffering, point one,” Garcetti said.
The second point, he said that this is an Indian issue for India to resolve.
“And point three is that America is here to support and help in any way if asked. It wasn’t even the government in power,” he said.
“You probably haven’t heard the narrative, like, that India is more advanced than us on human rights. But when it comes to transgender rights, they are,” he said.

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