Ominous signs- on Khalistani separatism

Source: The post is based on the article “Ominous signs” published in “The Hindu” on 8th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3- Internal security

News: On July 8, rallies by pro-Khalistan separatists are planned in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia that target Indian diplomatic missions and diplomats. The Indian government has taken steps to speak to officials in these countries for added security and vigilance.

What is the current situation regarding pro-Khalistan rallies?

There is an increase in pro-Khalistan separatist activities targeting Indian diplomatic missions and diplomats in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia. This includes planned rallies marked as “Kill India” and “Khalistan Freedom”. These activities have left the Indian government worried and has led them to take steps such as speaking to officials in these countries for increased security.

How have the foreign governments been notified?

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has spoken with his British counterpart about the issue. Additionally, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has communicated with its counterparts in all the affected countries, requesting pre-emptive action.

What risks are associated with these planned rallies?

The threats towards Indian diplomats abroad, including attacks on Indian missions and arson attempts, indicate a significant rise in overseas separatist activity. The rallies planned for July 8 pose a security risk to the Indian diplomatic missions. They also test the resolve of the foreign governments to investigate groups threatening violence and their commitment to international security conventions.

How should the affected countries respond to these threats?

Countries hosting these rallies must ensure adequate protection to Indian diplomatic interests as obligated under international conventions. They should also investigate any group threatening violence and sharing intelligence on any organizations supporting them. The use of “freedom of speech” should not be a cover for failing to prevent criminal acts.

How should India alter its diplomacy regarding this issue?

India must reconsider its public diplomacy in relation to this issue. The repeated calling out of foreign governments, freezing diplomatic contact, or downgrading security for the British High Commission may not be diplomatically effective. Instead of voicing protests, India should leave law enforcement issues to the sovereign governments of those countries.

What is the ideal way for countries to deal with the growing violence from such groups?

Given the escalating threats, it is crucial that there is cooperation between the governments rather than brinkmanship. This cooperation should include sharing information and intelligence, and discussing solutions to address the growing violence by such groups.

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