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Biden Cancels India Trip Over Alleged Murder Plot on US Soil

Recent reports indicate that US President Joe Biden is expected to forego attending India’s Republic Day celebrations, where he was initially slated to be the chief guest. 

The decision follows accusations from the US Justice Department pointing fingers at an Indian official for orchestrating a plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader on American soil.

US Alleges Indian Official in Assassination Plot

In September, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti revealed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited President Biden to serve as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26th. 

The invitation was a part of India’s preparations for hosting the Quad Leaders Summit in January 2024. However, a source from the Indian government informed The Independent that revised dates for the Quad summit are under consideration due to logistical issues with all Quad partners.

A spokesperson from the National Security Council, speaking anonymously to The Independent, stated that neither he nor the administration had any travel announcements to preview at this time, leaving the question of President Biden’s attendance unanswered.

Garcetti, discussing the relationship between India and the United States just days before the reports emerged, characterized it as evolving from a “complicated” status to a more intimate connection, likening it to a romantic journey where both nations are navigating shared interests and potential challenges.

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Joe Biden Travel Plans Remain Uncertain

Recent reports indicate that US President Joe Biden is expected to forego attending India’s Republic Day celebrations, where he was initially slated to be the chief guest.

Tensions escalated in November when the US announced the thwarting of a plot to assassinate Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. The US Justice Department raised concerns with New Delhi, suggesting that the Indian government might have been aware of the plot. 

Canada has also urged India to cooperate in an investigation into the murder of another Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia after the US revealed it had foiled the plot against Pannun.

The US Justice Department charged a 52-year-old man who collaborated with an Indian government employee in connection with the assassination plot. While the official was not identified or charged in the indictment, the court filing described him as a “senior field officer” with responsibilities in security management and intelligence.

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, stated that the Indian government had initiated a high-level inquiry following US authorities’ concerns about the plot to kill Pannun. The unfolding events highlight the complexity and potential repercussions on diplomatic ties between the US and India, adding a layer of uncertainty to the evolving relationship between the two nations.

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