India has constituted a high-level enquiry committee to probe allegations relating to a conspiracy to kill a Sikh extremist on American soil, presumably in view of the US raising concerns over the case.
The Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, last week reported that US authorities foiled a plot to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, and issued a warning to the Indian government over concerns it was involved in the plot.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Wednesday said India constituted a high-level enquiry committee on November 18 to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter.
Following the FT report, US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the issue is being treated with "utmost seriousness."
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that the Biden administration was so concerned after discovering the plot to assassinate the Sikh separatist that it sent CIA director William J Burns and director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to India in August and October respectively to demand investigation and hold to account those responsible.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors "expect to file a new indictment against an Indian national charged in June with paying a hitman to kill the Sikh separatist", the Post said, quoting unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Bagchi said the US side shared some "inputs" pertaining to nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists and that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on "our national security interests as well" and that relevant departments were examining the issue.
He said India will take necessary follow-up action based on the findings of the enquiry committee.
It is learnt that it will be a multi-agency probe. However, there was no official word on its composition.
Pannun, a Sikh extremist and known to be an American and Canadian citizen, is a leader of the so called 'Sikhs for Justice'. He is wanted by Indian probe agencies on various terror charges.
"We have already said that during the course of discussions with the US on bilateral security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others," Bagchi said.
He was responding to a media query on the issue.
"We had also indicated that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on our national security interests as well, and relevant departments were already examining the issue," he said, referring to his comments on the matter last week.
"In this context, it is informed that on November 18, the Government of India constituted a high-level Enquiry Committee to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter," he added.
Washington's allegations relating to the failed plot came weeks after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that there was a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb in June.
India had strongly rejected Trudeau's charges.
National Security Council spokeswoman Watson told AP that the issue is being treated with "utmost seriousness."
"We are treating this issue with utmost seriousness, and it has been raised by the US Government with the Indian Government, including at the senior-most levels," National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.
"Indian counterparts expressed surprise and concern," she said.
Bagchi last week said the US side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists which were a "cause of concern" for both countries.
"During the course of recent discussions on India-US security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others," he had said.
He said the inputs are a "cause of concern" for both countries and they decided to take necessary follow up action.
"On its part, India takes such inputs seriously since it impinges on our own national security interests as well. Issues in the context of US inputs are already being examined by relevant departments," he had said.