Recently, India has been involved in several controversial episodes including extrajudicial and extraterritorial assassinations, as well as failed attempts of assignations in various countries. These acts by India have induced grave international concerns as they violate international law, human rights, and other states’ sovereignty.

On 25 January 2024, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi during a press conference pointed out that “Islamabad has “credible evidence” of links between Indian agents and the assassination of two Pakistani citizens in Rawalakot and Sialkot. Mr. Qazi further stated, “We have a documentary, financial, and financial evidence fingering two Indian agents, who masterminded these killings”.

In November last year, authorities in the United States charged a man suspected of masterminding attempted killing and claimed that an Indian government official led a failed attempt to assassinate a Sikh separatist on US soil.

On September 18, 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also claimed ‘credible evidence’ that Indian government agents were involved in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh community leader and political activist. The death of Nijar was deemed an ‘act of terrorism’ by Sikhs for Justice. This US-based organization backed the Khalistan movement and demanded the expulsion of the Indian High Commissioner from Canada.

Morinder Sigh said he wanted a public probe on interference as well as an end to the agreement between Canada and India on intelligence sharing. In 2018, Canada and India had agreed on a framework for cooperation against terrorism and violent extremism. The countries’ intelligence agencies began ‘institutionalized cooperation’ due to this agreement. He added that ‘those agreements for intelligence sharing have always been problematic to us. They have always put Sikh activists in danger. We don’t know what information is being shared. We have no idea what kind of surveillance takes place on social media.’

The killing of a political activist within a state like Canada, which is famous for the protection of basic human rights and freedom of speech, can have an alarming impact on political activism. It can also galvanize other activists, leading to increased mobilization and solidarity efforts.

The violations of fundamental human rights and the killing of minorities, especially Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians, is not a new phenomenon for India. In 1984, Indra Gandhi was killed by Sikh bodyguards after the Government’s order to storm the holiest Sikh temple to flush out Sikh separatists who demanded an independent homeland Khalistan. Sikhs all around the world were enraged at the storming of the temple.

The recent killings and unrest in Manipur and the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution regarding the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) are evident examples of violations of fundamental rights against the Indian populace by the Indian government.

South Asia has been experiencing growing instability since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in India. BJP’s policymaking is impacted by the influence of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). There has been a marked increase in RSS expansion and dominance of RSS and Hindutva ideology in India’s domestic, foreign, and security policies.

Since Modi took office in 2014, there has been a sharp rise in violence against India’s minorities, and New Delhi has taken steps to remove protection from a large number of non-Hindus. India revoked the partial autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, the only state in India with a majority of Muslims, and divided the entity in half. Modi government is going to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which discriminately provides Indian nationality to all minorities except Muslims who fled to India from Muslim-majority countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before December 31, 2014.

The international community should condemn such killings and take necessary actions against India, especially as they are politically motivated and violate human rights. The government led by BJP under Modi emphasizes the promotion of RSS ideology in its election campaigns across India. The BJP government could exploit extraterritorial assassinations for the upcoming elections, as RSS claims to frequently place a significant emphasis on so-called Hindu nationalism or Hindutva ideology. The recent ‘provocative’ remarks by Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh underscored the influence of the RSS mindset within the BJP government and provided convincing evidence of India’s alleged involvement in extraterritorial killings in various countries.

The killing of foreign citizens in foreign countries and its connections with the security agencies of India severely harmed its international image and tensed Canda-India bilateral relations. The international community has expressed their concerns over India’s assassination of an activist while expressing “deep concerns” over Canada’s claims. Simultaneously, the UK stated it was in close contact with its Canadian authorities regarding grave charges.

Anwaarul Haq Kakar, then Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan condemned the assassination and termed the Hindutva ideology ‘a deep concern to the international community. Moreover, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan stated the indictment showed that New Delhi’s “network of extra-terrestrial killings” had gone global.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office further said that ‘recent Indian-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan illustrates the growing sophistication of such activities and is consistent with a trend also observed in other countries such as Canada and the United States.

India’s network of extra-judicial and extra-terrestrial assignations has become a global phenomenon. It is mandatory to hold India accountable for its nefarious activities in Pakistan and beyond.

Through its extra-territorial killings and attempted actions of violence, Idia not only undermines state sovereignty but also infringes on international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law.

Furthermore, India is contributing to enhancing tension, eroding trust, and challenging diplomatic efforts to settle disputes peacefully.

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