India has “disengaged” from trade talks with Britain after accusing it of failing to condemn the Sikh extremist group that attacked the Indian High Commission in London last month, The Times reported on Monday, citing British government sources.
The incident occurred on March 19, when protesters with Khalistan banners staged a demonstration at the High Commission and took down an Indian flag from the building’s first floor balcony to denounce recent police action in Punjab.
“Indians don’t want to talk about trade until they get a very public demonstration of condemnation of Khalistan extremism in the UK,” a Whitehall source told The Times.
India had last month said it expects to see action against the perpetrators of vandalism at its missions abroad and hoped the host governments would prosecute those involved in these incidents instead of holding out assurances. At the weekly briefing on March 24, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi had also said that New Delhi expects the host governments to take measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
Indian missions in London, British Columbia, and San Francisco were vandalised allegedly by pro-Khalistan activists following the police action against radical preacher Amritpal Singh in Punjab.
On March 19, supporters of the Khalistan movement pulled down the Indian flag at the country’s high commission in London and smashed the building’s window in a show of anger against the move to arrest Amritpal Singh, who remains elusive.
India’s External Affairs Minister had denounced the incident and summoned the UK’s deputy high commissioner in New Delhi to protest what it called the breach of security at the embassy in London.
On March 22, police removed temporary security barricades outside the British High Commission in New Delhi, news agency PTI had reported.
The supporters of the Khalistan movement also vandalised the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on March 20.