Babbar Khalsa Poses ‘Risk’ to American Personnel and Interests, Says U.S.

The United States has called the Babbar Khalsa group a risk to its international interests, saying it is responsible for significant terrorist attacks in India and outside.


The United States administration has called the Babbar Khalsa group a “risk to the U.S. personnel and interests overseas.”

On Oct. 4, the government unveiled the National Strategy for Counter-terrorism and said that the Canada-based organization “is responsible for significant terrorist attacks in India and elsewhere that have claimed the lives of innocent civilians.”

Apart from Babbar Khalsa, two Pakistan-based terrorist organization — Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) — have also been included in the list.

In 2002, the U.S. State and Treasury Departments listed the Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation as terrorist organizations.

Although Babbar Khalsa and LeT may not pose a serious threat to American interests for now, they still hold a risk to its personnel and interests abroad, according to the strategy document.

“Such groups may avoid or deprioritize targeting United States interests for now to avoid detracting from their core goals but frequently conduct assassinations and bombings against major economic, political, and social targets, heightening the risk to United States personnel and interests overseas,” the document says. It adds: “The terrorist threat to the United States is growing more dynamic and diffuse as an increasing number of groups, networks, and individuals exploit global trends, including the emergence of more secure modes of communications, the expansion of social and mass media, and persistent instability across several regions.”

Babbar Khalsa International has been linked to the 1985 bombing of the Air India Flight 182, in which 329 people were killed. Although people from Canada were involved in the bombing, no one has been prosecuted so far. The group was founded by Talwinder Singh Parmar, who was killed in 1992 in a police shootout in India.

The group’s aim is to merge Sikh-dominated and Punjabi-speaking areas in India and Pakistan into a new independent country.

In another related news, a prominent pro-separatist Sikh organization has said that it will hold polls in many Canadian cities as part of a worldwide referendum for an independent Khalistan nation in 2020.

The Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) said that it will hold polls in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver to join some 100 cities worldwide where Sikhs will take part in a non-binding referendum as part of a campaign dubbed “Referendum 2020,” Canadian publication Global News reported. The group, which has branches in New York, Toronto and London, says it wants to use the planned November 2020 referendum to assess the need for an independent Khalistan, before presenting its case for a binding referendum to the United Nations, the report added.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office told the publication that the Liberal government would not recognize any such referendum. “Canada’s position on a united India has not changed and our government would not recognize such a referendum. Canadians have the right to freedom of expression and speech. Canadians have the right to peacefully express their views,” Freeland said.

The statement sought to strike a balance between the country’s relations with Sikh separatists in the country and India, especially following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s state visit in February, which was marred by Indian allegations of Liberal leniency toward Khalistan sympathizers in Canada.

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