NEW DELHI: Allaying India’s concerns over activities of pro-Khalistan elements in the UK, British PM Rishi Sunak asserted on Wednesday that no form of extremism was acceptable, adding that the right to hold lawful protest did not extend to violent or threatening behaviour.
Sunak said he takes the duty of the government to disrupt and counter violent, divisive ideologies, whatever they may be, very seriously. He said the UK is working closely with its partners in the Indian government to tackle the pro-Khalistan extremism threat.
There have been increasing concerns in India about activities of pro-Khalistan elements in the UK, especially after an attack on the Indian high commission in London in March. Sunak’s comments came days before he visits India to attend the G20 summit on September 9-10. There is a view in Delhi that the Khalistani issue is a stumbling block in deeper India-UK ties.
Sunak also referred to a meeting between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and UK’s security minister Tom Tugendhat last month that was focused on addressing the threat of extremism and corruption. “During that visit he announced new funding to enhance the UK’s capability to tackle pro-Khalistan extremism. The Rs 1 crore investment will strengthen our understanding of the threat posed by pro-Khalistan extremism and complement the joint work underway between the UK and India,” he said.
In March, India reacted angrily after pro-Khalistan elements attacked the Indian high commission in London and pulled down the national flag from a pole at the front of the building.