New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke on the phone with UK PM Rishi Sunak, during which he raised the issue of the vandalization of the Indian High Commission in London by pro-Khalistani supporters and called for strong action by the Sunak government against anti-India elements.
PM Modi also raised the issue of fugitive Indian economic offenders who are staying in the UK, including Nirav Modi, and “sought progress on the return of these fugitives so that they can appear before the Indian judicial system”.
British PM Rishi Sunak conveyed that the UK considers the attack on the Indian High Commission “totally unacceptable” and assured of security of the Indian Mission and its personnel.
The statement read:
“The two leaders reviewed the progress on a number of bilateral issues as part of the India-UK Roadmap 2030. They expressed satisfaction at the recent high-level exchanges and growing cooperation, particularly in trade and economic sectors.
“They agreed on the need for early conclusion of a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.
“PM Modi raised the issue of security of Indian diplomatic establishments in the UK and called for strong action against anti-India elements by the UK Government.
“PM Rishi Sunak conveyed that the UK considers the attack on Indian High Commission totally unacceptable and assured of security of the Indian Mission and its personnel.
“PM Modi also raised the issue of economic offenders who have sought refuge in the UK. He sought progress on the return of these fugitives so that they can appear before the Indian judicial system.
“PM Modi invited PM Sunak for the G20 Summit to be held in September 2023.
“PM Sunak appreciated the progress made under India’s Presidency of the G20 and reiterated the UK’s full support to India’s initiatives and their success.
“PM conveyed greetings to PM Sunak and the Indian community in the UK on the eve of Baisakhi.
“The two leaders agreed to remain in contact,” the statement said.
The telephonic conversation comes days after reports that India has “disengaged” from the trade talks with the UK over Britain’s failure to condemn pro-Khalistani activists who vandalised the Indian High Commission last month.
According to reports, India had made it clear to the UK that there would be no progress in the FTA negotiations without a public condemnation of the Khalistan movement.
On March 19, late on Sunday evening, India had summoned the senior-most UK diplomat in New Delhi to convey its strong protest after some Khalistani activists had removed the Indian flag from outside the Indian High Commission in London.
India had demanded an explanation for the complete absence of British security that allowed the Khalistani elements to enter the Indian High Commission premises.
In a statement, India said it finds “unacceptable the indifference of the UK Government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the UK”.
India had demanded that the perpetrators be immediately arrested and prosecuted and stringent measures be put in place to prevent recurrence of such incidents.