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UK: Jaishankar raised the issue of Khalistanis in Britain, said- vigilance is necessary against misuse of freedoms

Pankaj Prasad
S Jaishankar and Tim Barrow
S Jaishankar and Tim Barrow

Speaking to the media in London before leaving for India, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar shared some aspects of his discussions with UK cabinet ministers and opposition leaders.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was on a five-day visit to Britain. During the meeting on Wednesday, he raised the issue related to pro-Khalistan activities in Canada. He stressed to Britain's leaders that freedom of speech and freedom of expression come with a certain responsibility and it would be very wrong to abuse those freedoms and tolerate that abuse for political purposes.

All dimensions of global and bilateral issues were discussed

Speaking to the media at the Indian High Commission in London before leaving for India, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar shared some aspects of his discussions with UK cabinet ministers and opposition leaders, in which all dimensions of global and bilateral issues were discussed. He told that he had a meeting with Britain's Home Minister James Cleverly and National Security Advisor (NSA) Tim Barrow. During this, India's concerns regarding the security of its diplomats in the country regarding pro-Khalistan extremism were discussed.

Mention of pro-Khalistan activities

Referring to the pro-Khalistan activities in Canada, Jaishankar said, 'We are trying to explain to the government here that as a partner of democracy, we understand the importance of freedom of speech and expression, but they should not abuse these freedoms. We must be vigilant against and it would be very wrong to tolerate that misuse for political purposes. During the meeting he recalled the attacks on the Indian High Commission in Canada and said that Indian diplomats were publicly intimidated. Canadian authorities took no action against the culprits.

On the violent protests at the Indian High Commission in March, he said the seriousness of the situation is recognized and India expects its diplomats to be provided with necessary security and a strong stance against advocacy of violence and extremism.

I don't think that prediction...

Asked whether the upcoming 14th round of talks on FTA was likely to be final, the External Affairs Minister said, 'We have made progress, but I don't think it would be right for me to make predictions or set a timeline. I think both sides are well aware of the importance of the FTA and will make every possible effort to achieve it.

Talk on many regional issues like Israel-Hamas conflict

On bilateral talks with Britain's newly appointed Foreign Minister David Cameron, Jaishankar said they discussed several regional issues such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Hamas conflict in West Asia. During this, he also shared that Cameron gifted him a cricket bat signed by the England and Indian cricket teams. The Foreign Minister described this bat as very special. Earlier on Sunday, during his meeting with Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street, he gifted a cricket bat signed by Virat Kohli to the British Prime Minister.

The trip was on time

He said, 'Overall, I would say that this visit came at the right time and was much needed because these personal interactions do a lot to really develop understanding between countries. I was very satisfied, the British government made an effort to negotiate on all issues and that in itself is an example of the closeness of our relations today.'