India's Spy Agency RAW Plotted to Assassinate Sikh Separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun as Indian PM Narendra Modi Ate with Biden in White House: Report

The notion that a friendly nation would orchestrate a killing on American soil, possibly leading to a diplomatic freeze, shocked Western officials upon learning the details.

While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was basking in the grandeur of a White House state visit last year, reports suggest that his intelligence officials were allegedly plotting to assassinate a prominent dissident on American soil, according to U.S. and Indian security officials.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill spared no effort, adorning the south lawn with lotus blooms, the symbol of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, during the June 22 event. They also arranged for a vegetarian chef to be flown in from California, ensuring a lavish spread for the occasion. Meanwhile, Modi's intelligence service was allegedly finalizing the hit, according to a bombshell report in the Washington Post.

R&AW Plotted to Kill Dissident

Modi Biden
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Joe Biden X

The assassination is a "priority now," wrote Vikram Yadav, an officer in India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy agency, according to a Daily Mail report citing the Washington Post.

The notion that a friendly nation would orchestrate a killing on American soil, possibly leading to a diplomatic freeze, shocked Western officials upon learning the details.

Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun
Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun X

The reasons for such an action remain unclear, but potential motives could include political or security concerns.

"Because they knew they could get away with it," a Western official told the Washington Post.

The plot targeted Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a U.S. citizen, and was ultimately foiled.

In June 2022, Yardav shared Pannun's details, including his New York address, with a hired hit team. Once the team confirmed Pannun's presence at home, they were instructed to proceed with the operation.

Biden Modi
US President Joe Biden with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi X

While the details of the plot have been outlined in an indictment, Yardav's identity and affiliation have not been previously disclosed, confirming for the first time that the plan was orchestrated by India's spy agency.

Current and former Western intelligence officers allege the involvement of high-ranking officials, including the approval of the target by then RAW chief Samant Goel.

Requests for comment from Doval and Goel by the publication went unanswered. These revelations align with India's increasingly assertive stance.

Plot Foiled

Last year, Canada acknowledged "credible" allegations linking Indian agents to the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader. Hardeep Singh Nijjar was fatally shot by two masked attackers in the parking lot of a Sikh temple near Vancouver in June 2023.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Hardeep Singh Nijjar X

Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities for alleged terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder due to his advocacy for a separate Sikh state.

The Indian government has refuted any involvement in the assassination.

These incidents occurred amidst a series of killings in Pakistan, with at least 11 Sikh or Kashmiri separatists, labeled as terrorists by the Modi administration, being slain in the past two years.

Officials claim that India's RAW has intensified surveillance and harassment of overseas dissenters.

The situation poses a diplomatic dilemma for the Biden administration, which has been fostering closer relations with India.

According to reports, the White House began exploring ways to address the issue without escalating tensions last July. CIA chief Bill Burns was among those dispatched to New Delhi to seek explanations.

The plot targeting Pannun was disrupted when an Indian man recruited to coordinate the assassination approached a hitman, who happened to be a DEA informant, as mentioned in court documents.

Nikhil Gupta, identified in the indictment as an Indian involved in drug and weapons trafficking, was arrested in Prague on June 30 and remains in custody. He refutes the allegations and awaits a decision on his extradition.