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New Deljhi: In a recent development that has strained diplomatic relations between the United States and India, a high-ranking US diplomat has labeled the alleged assassination attempt on Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Khalistani terrorist, as a “serious issue” for both nations. Donald Lu, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, emphasized the gravity of the situation during a Congressional hearing focused on Pakistan’s election. 

“This is a serious issue..We take it incredibly seriously, raised at the highest level with India. Encourage India to hold accountable those responsible”, Lu said.

Lu pointed out that the US Department of Justice has implicated an Indian citizen, allegedly acting under the direction of an Indian government official, in a plot to assassinate Pannun on American soil. The administration is taking this accusation very seriously, and the matter has been escalated to the highest levels of dialogue with India.

In response to this incident, India has established a committee to conduct a thorough investigation. Lu urged for a swift and transparent inquiry to ensure that justice prevails. The accused, Nikhil Gupta, is currently detained and faces charges of murder-for-hire.

The US Justice Department’s indictment alleges that an unnamed Indian government employee orchestrated the recruitment of Gupta to hire a hitman for the assassination, which was ultimately thwarted by US authorities. This case has brought to light the complex web of international relations and the challenges of ensuring accountability across borders.

Last December, Jon Finer, the US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, acknowledged the steps taken by India to address the situation, including the formation of a Committee of Enquiry.