India's Modi Brags About Ordering Transnational Assassinations

In a campaign speech on May 1, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi bragged about his campaign of transnational assassinations of individuals he has labeled "terrorists". “Today, India doesn't send dossiers to the masters of terrorism, but gives them a dose and kills them on their home turf", he is reported to have said, according to a tweet posted by his BJP party. Last month, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made a similar admission. “If any terrorist from a neighboring country tries to disturb India or carry out terrorist activities here, he will be given a fitting reply. If he escapes to Pakistan we will go to Pakistan and kill him there,” Singh said in an interview to Indian TV news network News18. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a BJP Campaign Rally. Source: BJP

Earlier, Pakistan government accused India of carrying out assassinations of Sikh and Kashmiri separatists on Pakistani soil. “We have documentary, financial and forensic evidence of the involvement of the two Indian agents who masterminded these assassinations,” Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Sajjad Qazi said at a news conference in Islamabad.

Pakistan is not alone in accusing India of assassinating dissidents overseas. Canada and the United States are also investigating murders allegedly carried out by Indian agents on their soil. Indian spies have also been kicked out of Australia after being caught monitoring Indian diaspora in the country. "They monitored their country's diaspora community, according to  the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) Director-General Mike Burgess  as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC). "They asked a public servant to provide information on security protocols at a major airport."

Derek Grossman on India's Spy Agency RAW. Source: X

Commenting on the news fromAustralia, a US analyst Derek Grossman posted on X:  "Indian RAW gets exposed again, this time in Australia. Maybe, just maybe, they aren’t very good at the spy game". 

Gerry Shih of the Washington Post appears to concur with Derek Grossman's assessment of the incompetence of the Indian spy agencies. Referring to RAW's assassination plot against Sikh activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a US citizen, Shih reported as follows: 

"After the plot against Pannun failed, the decision to entrust (Vikram) Yadav with the high-risk mission sparked recriminations within the agency, former officials said. Rather than joining RAW as a junior officer, Yadav had been brought in midcareer from India’s less prestigious Central Reserve Police Force, said one former official. As a result, the official said, Yadav lacked training and skills needed for an operation that meant going up against sophisticated U.S. counterintelligence capabilities". 

Back in 2018, India's former RAW officers, including one ex chief, have blamed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested by Pakistan in 2016, for getting caught in Pakistan as a "result of unprofessionalism", according to a report in India's "The Quint" owned and operated by a joint venture of Bloomberg News and Quintillion Media. The report that appeared briefly on The Quint website was later removed, apparently under pressure from the Indian government.


Riaz Haq said…

Dr. Audrey Truschke
Some truly eye-popping details here about the violent operations of Indian intelligence abroad under Hindu nationalist control.


In a series of arrests that have escalated diplomatic tensions between Canada and India, Canadian authorities have detained three Indian nationals in connection with the assassination of a prominent Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, last year. These arrests have thrown a spotlight on the alleged involvement of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), in operations beyond its borders, leveraging criminal networks to achieve its objectives. The Canadian Royal Mounted Police (RCMP) have not dismissed the possibility of a connection between the accused and the government of India, raising serious questions about international law and sovereignty.

The reaction from India has been swift, with officials labeling the arrests as a 'political compulsion' on Canada's part, suggesting a complex interplay of international diplomacy and domestic politics. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the fear and concern within Canada's Sikh community, emphasizing the importance of the rule of law in the ongoing investigation. This incident has not only strained the bilateral relations between the two countries but has also highlighted the murky world of international espionage and its intersections with criminal activities.

The case has brought to the fore long-standing accusations against RAW for its alleged tactics of engaging with criminal networks to conduct operations in South Asia, and potentially, as this case suggests, extending those operations into the West. The implications of such…

Riaz Haq said…
Canadian Arrests Highlight Alleged Gang Role in India’s Intelligence Operations - The New York Times

India’s external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, or RAW, has long been suspected of tapping into criminal networks to carry out operations in its immediate neighborhood in South Asia while maintaining deniability.

Canada’s accusation, if proven, that India orchestrated the Nijjar killing — and a similar accusation made soon after by the United States in a different case — may suggest that RAW is now extending its playbook of working with criminals to carry out operations in Western countries, analysts said.

U.S. officials have produced strong evidence in their accusation that an agent of the Indian government participated in a foiled attempt to assassinate a dual American-Canadian citizen. And Canada and allied officials have maintained that Canada has evidence supporting Mr. Trudeau’s claim that Indian agents carried out Mr. Nijjar’s killing.

But the Canadian failure to reveal any evidence that India took part, nine months after Mr. Trudeau’s explosive allegation, leaves the killing of Mr. Nijjar in the realm of accusations and counter-accusation in what is a highly tense political environment in both countries, analysts said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been flexing his muscles as a nationalist strongman, pitching himself during his ongoing campaign for a third-term in office as a protector of India who would go as far as it takes to target security threats.

During speeches, he has boasted about how his government eliminates enemies by “descending in their homes.” While he has made those references in relation to the country’s archenemy — Pakistan — right wing accounts on social media had celebrated the slaying of Mr. Nijjar in Canada as a similar reach of Mr. Modi’s long arm.

Mr. Trudeau, on the other hand, had been facing criticism of weakness in the face of Chinese election interference activities on Canadian soil, and his getting ahead of the Nijjar killing was seen as compensating for that.

Canadian police announced on Friday that they had arrested the three Indian men in Edmonton, Alberta, the same day and charged them with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the killing of Mr. Nijjar. The suspects had been living in Canada for three to five years but were not permanent residents of Canada, the police said.

The gang that the CBC reported that the hit-men are connected to is led by Lawrence Bishnoi, 31, who is accused of several cases of murder, extortion and narcotics trafficking. He has orchestrated much of it from an Indian jail, where he has been held since 2014. His members are seen as being behind the murder of a popular Punjabi rapper, and threats of attacks on Bollywood celebrities.

Indian security officials have frequently arrested criminals connected to Mr. Bishnoi, often with allegations that the gang’s network stretched as far as Canada and overlapped with those promoting from Canadian soil the cause of Khalistan, a once deeply violent separatist movement with the goal of carving out the Indian state of Punjab as an independent nation.

A large Sikh diaspora resides in Canada, many of them having migrated there after a violent and often indiscriminate crackdown by the Indian government in the 1980s against the movement for an independent Khalistan. While the cause has largely died down inside India, it continues to have supporters among some segments of the diaspora. The Indian government has accused Canada, and several other Western countries, of not doing enough to crack down on the separatists.
Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Audrey Truschke
Threatening family members to assassination plots.

Read every word to see how far Modi's India is going to repress its critics and how the Biden administration is allowing the targeting of US citizens and residents. #India #BJP #Modi #India


India’s efforts include a handful of high-profile incidents, most notably an assassination plot against American and Canadian activists. But more commonly, India engages in subtle forms of harassment that fly under the public radar.

An American charity leader who spoke out on Indian human rights violations saw his Indian employees arrested en masse. An American journalist who worked on a documentary about India was put on a travel blacklist and deported. An American historian who studies 17th-century India received so many death threats that she could no longer speak without security. Even a member of Congress — and vocal critic of the Modi regime — said she was concerned about being banned from visiting her Indian parents.

“I’m always thinking about the impact on my family — for example, if there was some attempt to not allow me back into India,” says Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

In some ways, the Indian campaign is more brazen than Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. While no evidence has emerged that Russia threatened harm against American citizens and their family members, India has been caught doing so repeatedly.

And while Russian involvement in the 2016 election swayed few votes, there’s good reason to believe India’s campaign is working as intended — muting stateside criticism of India’s autocratic turn under Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

An American academic warned me that they couldn’t speak openly about India out of concern for family. An American think tank expert described numerous examples of censorship and self-censorship at prominent US institutions. These two sources, and many others, would only share their personal stories with me anonymously. All were concerned about the consequences for their careers, their loved ones, or even themselves — and they weren’t alone.

“Indian Americans who are against the BJP, or oppose the BJP, have been intimidated and as a result routinely engage in self-censorship. I have heard them say as much to me,” says John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “There are prominent Indian American intellectuals, writers, [and] celebrities who simply will not speak out against Modi because they are afraid that by doing so they will subject themselves to a torrent of online abuse and even death threats.”

As a result, one of the most important developments of our time — Modi pushing the world’s largest democracy toward an authoritarian future — is receiving far less scrutiny in the United States than it should, especially at a time when Modi is running for a historic third term.

India’s willingness to go after critics outside its borders — a practice political scientists call “transnational repression” — is a symptom of this democratic decline.

Most sources told me that Indian harassment of Americans began in earnest after Modi took office in 2014, with most reported incidents happening in the past several years (when the prime minister became more aggressively authoritarian at home). Modi, a member of a prominent Hindu supremacist group since he was 8 years old, seems to believe he can act on the world stage in the same way he behaves at home.

Despite the brazenness of India’s campaign — attacking Americans at home in a way that only the world’s worst authoritarian governments would dare — the Biden administration is putting little pressure on Modi to change his ways. Judging New Delhi too important in the fight against China, the US government has adopted its own unstated policy of avoiding fights with India over human rights and democracy.

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