British Embassy security: It was in the year 2013 when India last saw tow trucks and backhoes in the national capital. Why were they implied? To remove the large concrete blocks used as barricades to protect the American Embassy in New Delhi. The barricades were used to prevent high-speed cars from approaching the building. Yes! You have guessed it right. It’s the host nation’s responsibility to provide security to foreign missions on its soil. The Indian government then revoked all airport passes issued to US diplomats and their families.
The action was taken following the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general, on charges of visa fraud. She was accused of underpaying and exploiting housekeepers. She was strip-searched following her arrest. The foreign minister had also summoned the US ambassador over the issue. Late BJP leader Arun Jaitely had then said, “The United States unilateralism in narrowing down the scope of diplomatic immunity should not be accepted by India.”
Why had it become such an issue back then? It’s because there is a convention in place known as the Vienna Convention, which protects diplomats against criminal action in countries where they are assigned. Well, once again, India has removed the extra-security cover, this time from the British Embassy. But why? Let’s find out.
India gives it back to the United Kingdom.
Yesterday, barricades placed outside the UK High Commission at Shantipath in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave, which guarded the mission from vehicular movement, were removed. Not only at the embassy, but the extra-security cover granted to the British High Commissioner Alex Ellis’ residence at Rajaji Marg in New Delhi was also removed. Barricades, sandbags, cement bags or PCR—all were removed. As I told you, the responsibility for the security of the UK’s mission as well as British Embassy members rests on the shoulders of the Indian establishment. So, will the UK embassy be without security? No, the security personnel posted at the mission as well as the envoy’s residence will continue to guard the premises.
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So, why has it all been done? And, further, why are we talking about it? Because providing extra-security cover to any foreign mission is a result of the Indian government’s goodwill, they are not obligated to do so, and withdrawing the same points sends a deeper message, perhaps no goodwill from now on. In diplomacy, goodwill goes a long way, but it’s a two-way process. In this case, it seems that the United Kingdom is hellbent on losing it.
India’s strong message to the UK on the Khalistani attack
India has withdrawn the extra-security cover from the British Embassy. This comes in the wake of violent protests that took place outside the Indian High Commission in London over the weekend. Khalistani separatists had gathered in front of the Indian embassy in London, and attempts had been made to tear down the Indian tricolour. They would have succeeded, but an Indian officer posted at the Commission intervened. All this happened, and the UK police and security agencies were probably down in their slumbers.
Through its decision, India has sent a strong message to the UK as well as the entire West that there would be consequences if India’s interests were harmed on your soil. This was India’s way of saying that it had enough of the West’s hypocrisy and that its patience was running out. Many are calling it India’s tit-for-tat move for the United Kingdom to understand that sympathising with Khalistanis on one side and approaching India on the other side for a free trade agreement (FTA), won’t work.
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This is not all; just after the incident was reported from London, India on Sunday night summoned the British deputy high commissioner and demanded an explanation over the complete “absence of security”. In a strongly worded statement, the foreign ministry also said that India finds “unacceptable” the indifference of the UK government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the UK. Also, the Indian community organised a protest in front of the Indian High Commission in London against the “disrespectful act” of Khalistani supporters and demanded the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the British government act against separatist Khalistani supporters who pulled down the Indian flag flying atop the commission.
Security ramp-up at the Indian High Commission in London
What followed India’s decision of security withdrawal was a security ramp up at the Indian High Commission in London this afternoon. What was seen? A large number of London Metropolitan Police personnel were deployed outside the Indian mission. Police personnel mounted on horses were also seen patrolling frequently in the area. The British administration also added barricades outside the commission three days after it was vandalised by protestors.
Understanding the growing pro-Khalistan movement in the UK
The Indian High Commission in London saw violent protests over the weekend, which were followed by Khalistani sympathisers gathering in front of the embassy even yesterday. Though India has responded harshly for the first time, the Khalistan movement has been resurrecting on foreign soil, especially the Canada-UK-US belt, for quite some time now.
In 2019, soon after the abrogation of Article 370, a mob of over 10,000 British Pakistanis attacked the Indian High Commission in London. For the last year, many Hindu temples have been vandalised by Khalistani sympathisers. In Leicester last year, Hindus who had settled in the UK were selectively targeted by Islamists on British soil. Referendums have been conducted, amplifying demand for a separate Khalistan-state to be carved out of India.
Why am I telling the tales of Islamists and Khalistanis together? Because across the West, especially in the UK and Canada, Khalistani sympathisers enjoy influence over major Sikh groups that operate in tandem with Islamist outfits, pushed, promoted, and patronized by the Islamists.
So, what are the saviours of democracy doing? Countries like the US and the UK have been happily ensuring safe refuge for these anti-Indian elements. Have you ever thought what would have happened if such vandalism had taken place on Indian soil? Those with patents for defending democracy would have attempted to intervene, followed by a hoarse UN cry.
Sunak on a slippery slope
Everything has happened under the watch of the Indian-origin Prime Minister in Britain, Rishi Sunak, and this has made the entire story even more interesting. We have said it again and again that having an Indian-origin man as the prime minister of any third state is not going to serve India’s interests.
Sunak is currently on a slippery slope, with India surpassing its former colonizer to become the fifth largest economy in the world. This must not have gone down with the British Deep State, thus creating problems for the Indian-origin British Prime Minister. With India being fierce in its actions, the upcoming days are not going to be easy for the Indian-origin British Prime Minister.
Be it reinstating Suella Braverman, who had made some objectionable comments on Indian immigrants to the UK, by Rishi Sunak, or remaining mum on the Khalistan issue, the diplomatic journey ahead between the UK and India doesn’t seem to be smooth.
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