© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
By Rupam Jain
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India has requested the United States to share intelligence on Sikh separatists living there amid investigations into an accusation that an Indian official was linked to a plot to kill a Sikh separatist on American soil, an Indian official said on Tuesday.
The request was made by the National Investigations Agency (NIA), India’s federal anti-terrorism agency, in meetings with visiting FBI Director Christopher Wray, said the official, who works at NIA and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The issue of what New Delhi says are Sikh separatists operating against India from U.S. soil was discussed in “greater detail by a team of internal security officials from both countries”, the official said.
“India has requested the U.S. officials to share inputs on suspected individuals who have in recent years been recruited and embedded in the separatist movement,” the official said.
An NIA spokesperson said the agency did not have a comment when reached by Reuters.
The U.S. embassy’s spokesperson said meetings between Wray and Indian officials were underway and he could not share details as yet.
The movement for a Sikh homeland in northern India, crushed decades ago, has burst onto the global stage in recent months as the United States and Canada accused Indian officials of involvement in assassination plots against Sikh separatist leaders in North America.
New Delhi denies any connection to a June murder in a Vancouver suburb but has announced an investigation into U.S. concerns about an alleged plot in New York.
It says such plots were not government policy and it is not hunting down Sikh separatists abroad. At the same time, Indian security and foreign ministry officials say Sikh separatists in North America and Europe raising money, training people and campaigning for India’s division, is a concern for New Delhi.
India has also sought to distance the FBI chief’s visit – the first in years – from the New York case, saying Wray’s trip had been planned for some time.