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By Areesha Anwer

On 8 October 2004, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted Resolution 1566, concerning threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism. In view of the seriousness of the issue, the Resolution was adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Paragraph 3 of the Resolution underscores that “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death,” with a view to provoking “a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons” which constitute “offences within the scope of and as defined in the international convention and protocols relating to terrorism”.

Indian state-sponsored assassination of Canadian national Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil fits into the definition of criminal acts, offences and terrorism as elaborated in Resolution 1566. Nijjar was a civilian and his assassination terrorised the Sikh community in North America.

It is time for the international community to also take notice of an abominable practice by New Delhi to use its diplomatic missions in foreign countries as launch pads for international terrorism and eliminating foreign nationals it dislikes. According to media reports, communications intercepted by Canadian intelligence of Indian diplomats in

Canada has identified the “smoking gun”, indicating their involvement in the plot to kill Nijjar. The expulsion of the undercover Indian intelligence agency RAW’s Station Chief based in the Indian High Commission in Ottawa immediately after Prime Minister Trudeau’s revelations in the House of Commons about India’s involvement in the assassination of Nijjar proved this point once again.

Use of diplomatic premises by India to launch terrorist attacks in the host country and its neighbours violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, which is aimed at the “maintenance of international peace and security, and the promotion of friendly relations among nations.”

India must therefore be held accountable for violating the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Observers believe that the murder of Nijjar by Indian state agents should lead to closer scrutiny of activities of RAW in Western countries and Indian diplomats working undercover in Indian diplomatic missions abroad.

Although RAW is notorious for sponsoring terrorist acts and carrying out hits in India’s neighbouring countries, it is for the first time that RAW has dared to bump off a national of a North American country on its soil. This gory incident and India’s audacity have set off alarm bells in the countries hosting significant populations of Sikhs including Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

The development has also prompted analysts in many countries to question as to whether the much-trumpeted strategic partnership between some Western countries and India is based on shared values or interests. Indian actions in Canada also appear to have taken their toll on the US-India relations. According to recent media reports, the US Ambassador to India has warned the State Department that India-US ties “could get worse for a time” over Canada-India row.

Modi’s terror doctrine is a manifestation of his extreme Hindutva ideology and expansionist dreams of “Akhand Bharat”. His hostile ambitions have translated into a state of chaos and disorder within India and stoked up a religious divide within the country. Under Modi’s rule, there has been a surge in hate crimes targeting minorities in India.

Around 90% of religious hate crimes in the past decade have occurred since Narender Modi assumed office. India’s global rankings for religious and press freedom have also slumped. Thousands of Muslims have suffered harassment, lost their lives and property, and have been falsely accused in the name of religion in India.

India under Modi has become a rogue state that sees no limit to its relentless pursuit of power. For Modi, India is a big power capable of getting away with impunity for its actions, and up until now, it has. The recent turmoil in the Indian state of Manipur serves as a troubling illustration of the persistent rise of Hindu extremism under Modi’s leadership.

Two Christian women were subjected to a humiliating public ordeal, paraded naked through the streets of Manipur by Hindu extremists. This incident occurred against the backdrop of a state marred by a civil war-like situation, with a staggering toll of at least 180 lives lost, more than 1000 people injured and around 60,000 displaced since the violence erupted in May 2023.

Indian state-sponsored terrorism abroad coupled with saffron terrorism at home, targeting and brutalising minorities in pursuance of Hindutva-driven Hindu nationalist policies of the BJP government, is an explosive mix that carries the risk of gutting South Asia and causing incalculable damage to the interests of Western countries courting close relations with India. Serious measures are therefore imperative, to prevent India from becoming a Frankenstein Monster.

The author is a Research Officer at the Center for International Strategic Studies Sindh (CISSS).

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