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India denies carrying out assassinations in Pakistan

New Delhi has rejected claims it perpetrated extrajudicial killings, calling them propaganda 

The Indian Foreign Ministry has denied a report by The Guardian claiming it carried out dozens of extrajudicial killings in Pakistan, labeling the allegations “false and malicious propaganda.”

The report quoted intelligence operatives in India and Pakistan as saying that beginning in 2019, New Delhi carried out assassinations as part of a wider strategy to eliminate terrorists living on foreign soil. The Guardian alleged the Indian government had ordered the killing of at least 20 people in Pakistan in the past four years, “drawing inspiration from intelligence agencies such as Israel’s the Mossad and Russia’s KGB.”

The allegations are “false and malicious anti-India propaganda,” the Foreign Ministry told The Guardian. It also underlined a previous statement by Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in which he said that targeted killings in other countries were “not the policy of the government of India.”

Those remarks were made in September last year, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, publicly accused New Delhi of orchestrating the death of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Ontario, without providing evidence. 

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On Friday, however, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh stated that if anyone tried to carry out terrorist activities in India and escape over the border to Pakistan, India would “follow him and take him down on Pakistani soil.” Speaking to Network18 in Hindi, Singh said India wants healthy relations with its neighbors, “but if anyone shows India the angry eyes again and again, comes to India and tries to promote terrorist activities, we will not spare them.” 

Ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have remained in a deep freeze since 2019. That year, a deadly terror attack in Pulwama, Kashmir killed 40 officers from India’s Central Reserve Police Force. In addition, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the special status of Kashmir by abolishing Article 370 of India’s constitution. 

Both events took a heavy toll on diplomatic and trade ties with Islamabad. In reaction to the terror attack, New Delhi withdrew the Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status it had granted to Pakistan and raised import tariffs, while Pakistan, responding to the abolition of Article 370, suspended bilateral trade and downgraded diplomatic ties.

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