In India, Sunak speaks on Khalistan extremism for first time; Here is what he said
The British PM also met children at the British Council and later said in a X post that ‘before meeting the world leaders of today I’ve been meeting with the world leaders of tomorrow’.
UK prime minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty meet the students during their visit to the British Council, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, September 8, 2023. Sunak and Murty reached India for the G20 summit starting on Saturday, September 9, 2023. (ANI Photo)
UK PRIME minister Rishi Sunak on Friday (8) spoke on the pro-Khalistan extremism shortly after landing in New Delhi to take part in the two-day G20 summit starting Saturday (9) saying London was “working closely” with New Delhi to tackle the menace.
Sunak, the UK’s first prime minister of Asian origin, reached New Delhi around 1.40 pm local time along with his Indian wife Akshata Murty and was received at the airport by India’s minister of state for consumer affairs Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
The 43-year-old leader, who also spoke on the matter ahead of his departure from the UK, said his country would not accept any form of violence and that the two countries are collaborating to put an end to the threat.
“This (the Khalistani issue) is a really important question… let me just say, unequivocally, no form of extremism or violence like that is acceptable in the UK. And that is why we are working very closely with the Indian government to tackle ‘PKE’ (pro-Khalistan extremism),” Sunak was quoted as saying by ANI.
“Our security minister was recently in India… we have groups working together to share intelligence so we can root out this kind of violent extremism. It’s not right and I won’t tolerate it in the UK,” he added.
UK security minister Tom Tugendhat visited Delhi in August when he vowed to ensure security of Indian diplomatic staff based in London. He also said that the Sunak government is aware of India’s concerns and stressed that “any attempt to radicalise people in the UK will be dealt with by the authorities”.
“Let me be very clear about this. This is not an Indian problem in the UK. Whenever there is radicalisation in the UK of UK citizens, this is a British problem. And so any attempt to radicalise any UK citizen in any direction will be dealt with by the British government,” he had remarked.
Khalistan extremism, which has been targeting India and Indians in a number of western nations in the past months, became a major point of concern in March when pro-Khalistan activists targeted the Indian high commission in London and pulled down the Indian Tricolour hoisted in front of the building. This happened a day after the police in India’s Punjab launched a massive hunt for Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh who was caught later.
India came up with a strong reaction to the incident and summoned a top British diplomat posted in New Delhi to lodge a complaint. More recently, two top Indian diplomats, including high commissioner Vikram Doraiswami, in the UK were targeted by the Khalistan extremists over the killing of a Khalistan preacher in Canada.
Sunak also spoke to Asian News International over a range of issues ahead of the G20 summit, including the India-UK free trade agreement and his family’s Indian roots.
He also called himself “a proud Hindu”.
On India’s G20 theme – “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, or “One Earth, One Family” — the British prime minister described himself as “an example of the incredible living bridge” and the summit’s motto.
Sunak also went to the British Council with his wife where they interacted with children and had fun-filled moments.