US Links Indian Official to Sikh Separatist's Assassination

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    The Facts

    • Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with plotting to assassinate a Sikh separatist activist on US soil at the behest of an Indian government official, the US Dept. of Justice announced on Wednesday.

    • According to court documents, the Indian government operative — referred to only as "CC-1" — described himself as a "Senior Field Officer" with responsibilities in "Security Management" and "Intelligence" and allegedly recruited Gupta to orchestrate the ultimately unsuccessful assassination earlier this year.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The charges against Gupta are a dramatic development, fueling concerns that the trail of the plot to assassinate a US and Canadian citizen on US soil might lead to New Delhi. Not only that, the charges also suggest a link between the foiled killing in the US and the murder of the Sikh leader in Canada. To protect its reputation, New Delhi must do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice. Washington, for its part, must show that the lives of US citizens take precedence over its desire to deepen strategic ties with India.

    Narrative B

    The allegations made in the indictment are serious, but India appreciates that the US has been discreet in voicing its concerns, unlike Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who openly accused New Delhi of being behind the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada without providing any evidence. The Sikh separatist Pannun is a dangerous agitator who was labeled a terrorist by New Delhi and has undoubtedly made many enemies. India is taking the matter seriously and is interested in solving the obscure issue for national security reasons alone.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 3% chance that India will request that another Canadian diplomat be recalled before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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