‘Investigate, punish them’: India tells Australia on Khalistani violence targeting Indians

New Delhi: India on February 2 condemned violence by Khalistani extremists in Australia targeting the Indian community. “We strongly condemn such attacks by extremist elements and we urge local authorities to investigate and punish the perpetrators. We have been repeatedly taking up with the Australian authorities our concerns about actions by such elements, including those that are proscribed terrorist organizations,” MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters. “We have also conveyed our firm rejection of the so-called Khalistan referendum and the politically motivated exercises by extremist elements. We have requested Australia to ensure the safety and security of members of the Indian community and their properties,” he said. New Delhi is also firm that the authorities in Australia should not allow the “use of Australian territory for activities that would be detrimental to territorial integrity, security and national interest of India”. He said the Indian Government had taken note of the comments by some Australian leaders condemning the violence in Melbourne. “And we will continue to take up this issue with Australian authorities. In Canada, you mentioned a Canada incident. In that context, you would have seen the comments by the Canadian Foreign Minister denouncing the vandalism. We reaffirm this position strongly,” he said. He said, “Our High Commissioner met the Premier of the Province in Australia, and this matter was raised. He has also tweeted about this meeting in which he condemned this incident in strong words”. Arindam Bagchi said India has requested to take action against those who are extremists and undertaking activities of the so-called Khalistani referendum. As I have said, some Australian leaders have also condemned it. Pakistan and Indus Waters Answering questions concerning Pakistan and Indus Waters, the MEA spokesman said, “India’s Commissioner for Indus Waters has issued a notice on January 25 for the modification of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 to his Pakistani counterpart. This notice was issued to provide Pakistan with an opportunity to enter into Government to Government negotiations to rectify the ongoing material breach of the Treaty”. He said, “We have called upon Pakistan to notify a suitable date for the commencement of interstate bilateral negotiations under Article XII (3) of the Treaty within 90 days. I am not aware of a response from Pakistan as yet. I am also not aware of any response or comment by the World Bank. But in any case, our notification by the Indus Commissioner was to his Pakistani counterpart, not the World Bank”. On the Court of Arbitration, he said these were part of legal processes, and it would not be right to speculate. To a question on India inviting Pakistan to the SCO meeting, Bagchi clarified that India holds the SCO’s current Presidency. “And as is customary, as the president, India has been extending invitations to all SCO members, including Pakistan, for various events under our Presidency that we have hosted and will continue to host as president. So that’s broadly what I wanted to say”.