UK announces new funding against 'pro-Khalistan extremism'

UK announces new funding against 'pro-Khalistan extremism'

British security minister meets with Indian foreign minister during visit to New Delhi

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) — The UK on Friday announced new funding to step up its response to "Pro-Khalistan extremism," referring to a Sikh separatist movement that claimed thousands of lives in Indian Punjab in past decades.

"A deeper partnership between our two nations means we can more effectively tackle the security threats we both face," a statement by the British High Commission in New Delhi quoted Security Minister Tom Tugendhat as saying during a three-day visit to India.

"I'm committed to working together to enhance our understanding of and capabilities against extremism — whatever form it takes," said Tugendhat, whose visit seeks to bolster bilateral cooperation on security initiatives. He is also expected on Saturday to attend a ministerial anti-corruption meeting of the G-20 in the eastern city of Kolkata.

A section of India's Sikh religious community launched the Khalistan movement in the late 1970s in order to establish a separate homeland in the northern Punjab region. While Sikh secessionism in India has died down, pro-secession groups have become active internationally.

Tugendhat held a meeting with India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi on Thursday, where the visiting minister announced the fund.

"The £95,000 ($120,700) investment will enhance the government’s understanding of the threat posed by Pro-Khalistan Extremism, complementing the joint work already underway between the UK and India through the Joint-Extremism Task Force," the statement said.

On social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Tugendhat said: "Great to discuss shared experiences of tackling extremism with our close friends and partners here in Delhi. We're stronger together."

Before moving on to Kolkata, Tugendhat will visit the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Delhi to discuss joint challenges posed by child sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as fraud.

New Delhi was angered in March after supporters of the pro-Khalistan movement pulled down the Indian flag at the country's High Commission in London "during a protest."

Summoning the senior-most British diplomat in New Delhi to convey its "strong protest" over the actions taken by "separatist and extremist elements."

In April, during a meeting between senior British and Indian home ministry officials in New Delhi, the Indian side "specifically conveyed its concerns on the misuse of UK's asylum status by the Pro-Khalistani elements to aid and abet terrorist activities in India and requested better cooperation with UK."

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