India on Monday dismissed reports it had ‘disengaged’ from trade talks with the United Kingdom over the latter’s ‘lack of action’ after Khalistani separatists vandalised the Indian High Commission in London last month.
News agency ANI cited government sources as saying any report of trade talks being halted – made first by British publication The Times – were ‘baseless’ and ‘denied’. The UK’s Department for Business and Trade said the two countries remain ‘committed to delivering an ambitious and mutually beneficial’ deal.
This comes after The Times’ report that cited sources from Whitehall – an area in London that is home to several government and bureaucratic offices – said India wanted the British to do more to protect diplomatic buildings and staff.
Sources told the British publication ‘the Indians do not want to talk about trade very public… demonstration of condemnation of Sikh extremism in the UK’ and referred specifically to the events of March 19, when what India called a ‘complete lack of security’ allowed attackers to scale and remove the Indian flag from a first floor balcony’ to protest police action in Punjab.
Neither the Indian government nor its ministries have responded as yet.
British politicians have condemned the attack as an ‘unacceptable act of violence’ – both Conservative and Labour MPs have called on prime minister Rishi Sunak’s government to ensure such incidents are not repeated – but New Delhi appears keen to press home its point – that supporters of the Sikh extremist group must be dealt with sternly, even if on foreign soil.