India once again stalls trade talks with Britain over Sikh separatist group: report

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India once again stalls trade talks with Britain over Sikh separatist group: report

London: India has “disengaged” from trade talks with Britain after accusing it of failing to condemn the Sikh separatist group that attacked the Indian High Commission in London last month, The Times reported on Monday, citing British government sources. “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. 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.

Khalistan refers to an independent Sikh state sought by some groups but which does not exist. Subsequently, India had summoned the most senior British diplomat in New Delhi to protest at the actions taken by “separatist and extremist elements” against the country’s mission in London.

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Moreover, British foreign minister James Cleverly has said the country will review security at the Indian High Commission in London following “unacceptable acts of violence” towards the mission’s staff. Cleverly had also said that a police investigation was ongoing after the acts of violence and that the country will make the necessary changes to ensure the safety of the Indian mission’s staff.

Protests had erupted outside Indian consulates in Britain, Canada and the United States after the Punjab police launched a manhunt for Sikh separatist Amritpal Singh, who has risen to fame in recent months for demanding the creation of Khalistan — a separate Sikh homeland — the struggle for which sparked deadly violence in the 1980s and 1990s.

Punjab police have been hunting Singh since March 18, cutting off mobile internet in the Sikh-majority northern state of 30 million people for days, arresting more than 100 of his followers and banning gatherings of more than four people in places.


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