HomeTrendingUK boosts defence ties with India, takes big step against Khalistan groups

UK boosts defence ties with India, takes big step against Khalistan groups

Britain’s Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, has announced an enhanced fund of £95,000 to combat Khalistan extremism in the United Kingdom (UK) as a vital step to strengthen India-UK collaboration.

Tugendhat paid a three-day visit to India to take part in the G20 ministerial summit on anti-corruption. On August 10, Minister Tugendhat met India’s Minister of External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar, in increased Delhi. During their conversation, he disclosed the increased funds to strengthen the UK’s capabilities to combat pro-Khalistan extremism.

“We can better address the security issues we both confront if our two countries had a stronger collaboration. I’m dedicated to cooperating with you to improve our knowledge of and skills in combating extremism, in whatever shape it may take,” Tugendhat told the media.

The Joint-Extremism Task Force, which focuses on improving UK-India cooperation in combating extremism and making sure that all appropriate measures are taken against people and groups trying to encourage violent extremism or who are involved in its financing, already exists between India and the UK.

However, the £95,000 expenditure will significantly improve the British government’s capacity to recognise and thwart the narratives and activities of extremists.

“The £95,000 ($120,700) investment will enhance the government’s understanding of the threat posed by Pro-Khalistan Extremism, complementing the joint work already underway between the UK and India through the Joint-Extremism Task Force,” the statement said.

On March 19, demonstrators holding “Khalistan” banners gathered outside the London High Commission. They removed an Indian flag from the first-floor balcony of the building to protest recent police actions in Punjab against a leader of the Sikh separatist movement.

The “breach of security” episode, which entailed the “complete absence of British security,” increased hostilities between the two nations. Since then, India has requested that Britain conduct more surveillance on Sikh separatist movement sympathisers located in the UK.

Following “unacceptable acts of violence” against the mission’s workers, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly reassured India that the UK will reassess security at the Indian High Commission in London.

The government of Prime Minister Modi has called attention to the British system’s lenient stance towards rebels in Khalistan who are hostile to India.

Regarding a planned Sikh extremist attack on the Indian Mission, the Indian government had informed British intelligence, including MI-5. Ongoing trade negotiations between India and the UK may have been impacted by the attack on the Indian High Commission in London, according to reports.

 

The Bloom Review on Khalistan Extremism

As a result of pro-Khalistan elements instigating violence and intimidation, an independent investigation commissioned by British authorities in April suggested that the UK government look into extremist behaviour among the nation’s Sikh population.

The suggestion comes from a report written by Colin Bloom, an impartial expert on faith engagement, which former prime minister Boris Johnson ordered in 2019.

According to the report’s assessment, a “small, extremely vocal, and aggressive minority of British Sikhs who can be described as pro-Khalistan extremists” are pushing a “ethno-nationalist agenda.”

Certain extremists are “known to support and incite violence and intimidation in their ambition to establish an independent state called Khalistan.”

The report reassures readers, however, that the “subversive, sectarian, and discriminatory activities” of the “extremist fringe ideology within the pro-Khalistan movement” do not accurately represent the majority of British Sikhs and have caused conflict among British Sikh communities.

According to the Bloom Report, British Sikhs have cautioned the UK government that failing to distinguish between subversive extremist goals and mainstream Sikh communities may lead to the UK turning a “blind eye towards religious extremism.”

One intriguing finding of the Bloom Review is that Sikh extremists, who constitute a small minority yet draw disproportionately large amounts of attention and stir up polarising emotions, do so by inflating their power and by exploiting the title “Sikh” to justify dubious beliefs or methods.