The British government has responded to India’s strong protest 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 over the weekend.UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement that the government takes the matter very seriously and condemned the acts of violence against the Indian mission staff. He stressed that the British government is working with the Metropolitan Police to make the changes needed to ensure the safety of the staff at the Indian High Commission – referencing the increased security presence at the Indian High Commission for a planned demonstration by Khalistani groups on March 22.
Cleverly said: “Acts of violence towards staff at the Indian High Commission in London are unacceptable and I have made our position clear to the High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami. The police investigation is ongoing and we are in close contact with the Indian High Commission in London and the Indian Government in New Delhi. 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.
“We will always take the security of the High Commission, and all foreign missions in the UK, extremely seriously, and prevent and robustly respond to incidents such as this.”
The minister, who met Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his visit to New Delhi for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting earlier in March, went on to reiterate the UK’s commitment to the bilateral relationship.
He said: “The UK-India relationship, driven by the deep personal connections between our two countries, is thriving. Our joint 2030 Roadmap guides our relationship and shows what we can achieve when we work together, creating new markets and jobs for the two countries and helping to tackle shared challenges.
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“We want to build deeper ties between the UK and India for the future.”
There had been outrage among Indian diaspora groups over scenes of violence at the Indian High Commission on March 19, with some warning of its spill-over effects into the ongoing UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.
Diaspora groups had also rallied around the mission to organise a gathering as a show of solidarity with the Indian High Commission and to counter the damaging and violent separatist rhetoric.