“The government takes the protective security of the Indian High Commission extremely seriously. The government remains committed to protecting the security of missions throughout the UK, including preventing and rapidly and robustly responding to incidents such as this,” UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat told Parliament this week.
“The criminal damage and assaults on staff from the India High Commission at the incident on the weekend of the 18th March were unacceptable. The police have powers to deal with such acts. However, the use of these powers is an operational matter for the police, and decisions on possible criminal proceedings will be made in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service,” he said.
Tugendhat, who had also met with Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami soon after the attack on India House in London last month, was responding to a written parliamentary question by British Indian Labour MP and chair of the Labour Convention of Indian Organisations (LCIO) Navendu Mishra.
Mishra had tabled a question on March 28 to get an update on what assessment has been made by the UK Home Office of the implications of the “vandalism and disorder that took place outside the High Commission of India in London in March 2023; and what steps she is taking to ensure the safety and security of diplomatic missions”.
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The British government had responded to the strong condemnation in India and by the British Indian diaspora against the complete absence of any security at the Indian High Commission in London, where separatist and extremist Khalistani protesters smashed windows and attempted to desecrate the Indian national flag on March 19.
“We are working with the Metropolitan Police to review security at the Indian High Commission, and will make the changes needed to ensure the safety of its staff as we did for today’s demonstration,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly had said last month. Since then Downing Street confirmed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was also aware of the security review, being led by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
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Meanwhile, reports from India indicate that the country’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) is to take over the investigation of the attack on India House in London during last month's protest, as it involves unlawful activities carried out by certain people holding Indian nationality abroad.