External Affairs Minister of India, Dr S Jaishankar, addressed concerns over the Khalistan issue in the UK during a press conference at the High Commission of India in London on November 16. He highlighted the importance of freedom of expression and speech, but also emphasized the need to be vigilant against the misuse of these freedoms, particularly when it comes to threatening diplomatic representation in the UK.
In response to a question regarding the Khalistan issue, Dr Jaishankar stated, “For many years, we have been taking it up, I am now restricting this to the UK, and trying to get the government here to understand that while we certainly as a fellow democracy understand the importance of freedom of expression and of speech, but they should be on guard against the misuse of these freedoms. Misuse of these freedoms to threaten the diplomatic representation in the UK.”
The External Affairs Minister also acknowledged that the UK government has taken some steps in response to incidents earlier this year, recognizing the gravity of the situation. Although Dr Jaishankar did not provide specific details about the incidents, his comments indicate that there have been instances where the diplomatic representation of India has been threatened in the UK.
The issue of Khalistan, which advocates for a separate Sikh state, has been a longstanding concern for India. The movement gained prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, with some Sikh groups calling for an independent state in Punjab, India. However, the Indian government views the demand for Khalistan as a threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In recent years, there have been reports of pro-Khalistan demonstrations and activities taking place in the UK. These events have raised concerns among Indian officials, who fear that these activities may not only undermine India’s national unity but also pose a threat to its diplomatic missions abroad.
Dr Jaishankar’s comments reflect India’s ongoing efforts to address the issue and engage with the UK government to ensure the protection of its diplomatic representation. While recognizing the importance of freedom of expression and speech, India urges the UK to remain cautious of any misuse of these rights that could harm diplomatic ties between the two nations.
The UK has always been regarded as a key partner for India, both politically and economically. Therefore, fostering strong diplomatic relations is crucial for both countries. The UK government has previously assured India that it will not allow any anti-India activities on its soil and will take appropriate action against those who engage in such activities.
As the issue of Khalistan continues to be a point of concern for India, it is expected that the Indian government will continue to engage with the UK authorities to ensure the safety and integrity of its diplomatic missions. The UK, on its part, will likely maintain its commitment to balancing freedom of speech with national security concerns to preserve the strong ties between the two nations.
More detail via Asian News International (ANI) here… ( Image via Asian News International (ANI) )