India admits to foreign soil assassinations after bombshell Guardian report

Pakistan's Sikh community members condemn the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, during a protest in Peshawar. (Photo/Reuters)

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has reacted to a bombshell expose by British newspaper The Guardian, admitting the country's has a policy of eliminating anti-New Delhi individuals abroad and that "Pakistan has also started understanding this."

"If any terrorist from a neighbouring country tries to disturb India or carry out terrorist activities here, he will be given a fitting reply. If he escapes to Pakistan, we will go to Pakistan and kill him there," Singh said in an interview with an Indian TV news channel on Friday.

He was reacting to an article in Guardian that alleged agents of New Delhi's powerful Research and Analysis Wing [or RAW], had been involved in up to 20 extrajudicial killings of individuals in Pakistan since 2020.

The report included statements by intelligence officers from India and Pakistan, documents shared by Pakistani researchers, and allegations about how India began to organise assassinations abroad — from its sleeper cells in UAE and elsewhere — under a change in national security policy after 2019.

"India always wants to maintain good relations with its neighbouring countries ... But if anyone shows India the angry eyes again and again, comes to India and tries to promote terrorist activities, we will not spare them," Singh said.

Singh also cited the right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that this policy is "right".

"India has the capability to do so. Pakistan has also started understanding this."

Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Office on Friday said that the Indian network of extrajudicial killings has become a "global phenomenon". Citing assassination plots unearthed in Canada and United States last year, it said the killings "required a coordinated international response."

Relations between the countries have worsened since a 2019 suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in India-administered Kashmir, that killed at least 44 India soldiers, was claimed by a Pakistan-outlawed militant group, leading New Delhi to carry out an air strike on what it said was a militant base in Pakistan.

Pakistan in turn rejected the accusation of sheltering the militant group and claimed to have shot down two Indian air force fighter jets and launched air strikes at six targets in India-administered Kashmir.

Days later, in a move to mitigate regional tensions, Islamabad returned the captured Indian pilot to New Delhi.

Assassinations plots in Canada, US

Pakistan said earlier this year it had credible evidence linking Indian agents to the killing of two of its citizens on its soil.

The report in the Guardian comes months after Canada and the US accused India of killing or attempting to kill people in those countries.

Canada said in September that it was pursuing "credible allegations" linking India to the death of a Sikh separatist leader shot dead in June.

Ottawa later withdrew 41 diplomats from India after New Delhi in September asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations. A top Canadian official said in January that India was cooperating in the matter and bilateral ties were improving.

The US similarly said in November that it had thwarted an Indian plot to kill a Sikh separatist leader and announced charges against a person it said had worked with India to orchestrate the attempted murder.

Modi has said India will investigate any information it receives on the matter.

On Thursday, Modi spoke about the country's operations abroad in a campaign rally, saying that "today's India goes inside enemy territory to strike."

"These cases exposed the increasing sophistication and brazenness of Indian-sponsored terrorist acts inside Pakistan, with striking similarities to the pattern observed in other countries, including Canada and the United States," Pakistani foreign office said.

"It is critical to bring to justice the perpetrators, facilitators, financiers and sponsors of these extra-judicial and extra-territorial killings. India must be held accountable internationally for its blatant violation of international law."


Source: TRT