Rise in India’s Covert Operations on Foreign Soil

Rise in India's Covert Operations on Foreign Soil
  • Reading time:7 mins read
  • Post author:Sara Nazir
  • Post category:Stratagem

In recent revelations, the international community has been appalled by the exposure of India’s covert assassination campaign in several countries. The United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and Pakistan disclosed investigations one after the other. The murder of a Canadian national and Sikh diaspora activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, rang the alarm bells in September, 2023 when Canadian Prime Minister unveiled an ongoing investigation.

Based on human and signals intelligence, Justin Trudeau said Canada had credible proof of Indian involvement. Following this, the Indian Government came under spotlight for operating secret networks abroad.

The cornerstone of these covert spy and assassination missions lied in the blatant disregard for other states’ sovereignty. Therefore, a violation in parallel of the fundamental principle enshrined in Article 24 of the United Nations Charter.

The targeted killings conducted by Indian intelligence agents on foreign soil not only violate the essence of international law but also trample upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

As per an article published on The Diplomat, the series of murders began in 2018 with the killing of Mohammad Ismael, an operative for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), on the Pakistani side of Kashmir. This assassination set the tone for what appears to be a targeted campaign.

Five years later, the thread continued with the killings of Bashir Ahmed of Hizb-ul Mujahideen in Rawalpindi and Khalid Raza of Al Badar in Karachi. Most recently, on September 8, Mohammed Riyaz with affiliation to LeT has been killed in Azad Kashmir.

After Canadian episode, the world was paying attention already.

Therefore, Pakistani law enforcement agencies have exposed Indian networks operating within Pakistan, pretending to conduct secret operations from abroad. Such rackets hired criminals through social media, using foreign country’s WhatsApp numbers and changing names and operating cell phone numbers.

Image Credits: cfr
Image Credits: cfr

In another instance, a collaboration between Ashok Anand, Yogesh Kumar and Jack network orchestrated the assassination of Maulana Shahid Latif (a religious preacher) and Muhammad Riaz (a former member of Lashkar-e-Taiba) using criminal networks.

Last but not the least, another RAW sponsored network financed the murder of Pir Bashir Ahmed, of Kashmiri origin, in Islamabad, using multiple foreign remittances through the Armada Group of Companies. They used foreign number to operate the network within Pakistan. Huge money tranche in advance was paid for the murder and funds were transferred via 12 exchange companies based in certain countries of the Gulf.

The use of third countries and hiring a third person for murder is a pattern that emerged from the US’s ongoing investigation in the foiled assassination attempt of a US-based Sikh activist – Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

In Pakistan, this Indian intelligence-backed network targeted patriotic individuals, who worked for or raised their voices for the oppressed people of Kashmir. These people mostly had a track record of exposing sinister designs of India against minorities particularly Muslims.

In addition to persecuting Pakistani nationals, the network also targeted Afghans residing in Pakistan, Kashmiri people and religious preachers in mosques.

The evidence paints a damning picture of RAW, raising serious concerns about the misuse of technology and safe havens by Indian agents for global murders. This not only raises concern about India’s unlawful activities abroad but also about alleged facilitators abroad particularly in Gulf countries.

It is worthy to note that in the case of Pannun, an Indian working in the Czech Republic was hired for carrying out the murder.

Doing its part to ensure India’s designs do not succeed in taking more lives, the Government of Pakistan has expressed its willingness to share evidence with the UN against Indian intelligence agencies for further investigation, underscoring its commitment to international justice.

As for the trail of killing Sikhs in other countries, Indian ambitions seems to know no bound. Even in Pakistan, Sikhs have been targeted by unknown men, just like in Canada and the US. The Sikh diaspora in the West is, undoubtedly, a big challenge that India seeks to put down by force.

Even now, the referendum voting for Khalistan in the US is taking place as per the schedule. India sees it clearly that there is no deterring the Sikhs activists in foreign lands. Hence, it desperately tries to target the leading Sikh voices in the diaspora.

The time for international action is now, as we collectively strive for a world where diplomacy is conducted with respect for the sovereignty of nations. The Indian Government is using Indian diaspora for terrorism and extra-judicial killings in other countries.

Image Credits: The EurAsian Times
Image Credits: The EurAsian Times

Pakistan’s intelligence agencies not only exposed the Indian networks but also arrested and thoroughly investigated each case resulting in arrest of criminals, now awaiting legal proceedings.

In conclusion, the systematic violations of international law by Indian intelligence agencies, particularly the RAW, demand urgent attention and international accountability.

The targeted killings conducted on foreign soil not only violate the essence of international treaties but also trample upon fundamental human rights principles.

These revelations demand a unified international response to ensure that RAW agents face justice for their actions in various countries. It is imperative that the international community takes a firm stand against India’s violation of international law and holds the Indian Government accountable for its actions.

The principles of sovereignty, human rights, and the rule of law must be upheld to prevent such egregious transgressions from becoming a disturbing norm in global affairs.

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Sara Nazir is an Islamabad-based researcher with a background in Strategic Studies & area of interest is non-traditional warfare. She can be reached on saranazeer2@gmail.com & @SaraNazir13 (on X).

Sara Nazir

Sara Nazir is an Islamabad-based researcher with a background in Strategic Studies & area of interest is non-traditional warfare. She can be reached on saranazeer2@gmail.com & @SaraNazir13 (on X).