Russia accuses US of meddling in India’s internal affairs

MOSCOW, 9 May: The US has not yet provided any reliable evidence of the involvement of Indian citizens in the murder plot of a Khalistani terrorist in that country, Russia has said, as it accused Washington of meddling in India’s domestic affairs and the ongoing elections.

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.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, when asked to respond to a report by the Washington Post claiming that India is trying to adopt the policies as Russia and Saudi Arabia, said: “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 said.

Washington lacks understanding of India’s national mentality and history and continues to make “unfounded accusations” about religious freedoms in India, she said.

“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,” she said.

Describing the interference as a “colonial period mentality,” the Russian spokesperson accused the White House of complicating the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“The reason is that they try to unbalance the internal political situation in India in order to complicate the (ongoing) general parliamentary elections. That is part of meddling into India’s internal affairs,” RT news quoted her as saying.

“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 said.

The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, named a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) officer in connection with the alleged plot to kill Pannun on American soil last year.

India has strongly rejected the claims, saying that the report made “unwarranted and unsubstantiated” imputations on a serious matter, and that an investigation into the case was underway.

“The report in question makes unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations on a serious matter,” External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in New Delhi.

Jaiswal said that a high-level inquiry committee set up by New Delhi to look into inputs provided by the US on the alleged plot is still probing the case.

“There is an ongoing investigation of the high-level committee set up by the government of India to look into the security concerns shared by the US government on networks of organised criminals, terrorists and others,” he said.

“Speculative and irresponsible comments on it are not helpful,” Jaiswal added. (PTI)