Rishi Sunak ‘Aware’ Of Security Review At Indian Mission In London, Says UK
31 March, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
British PM Rishi Sunak is aware of India's security concerns following violent protests at its London consulate, and a security review is ongoing, Downing Street said on Thursday.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is aware of India’s security concerns following violent protests at its London consulate, and a security review is ongoing, Downing Street said on Thursday.
Last week, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced a security assessment after pro-Khalistan flag-waving protestors damaged windows and attacked the tricolour at India House.
Since then, the UK Foreign Office, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police, has led the review of security at the diplomatic post.
“Discussions are being led by the Foreign Office with our police in the UK and our Indian counterparts. The Prime Minister hasn’t been involved directly but he is aware of them [discussions],” Prime Minister Sunak’s spokesperson told PTI at a Downing Street briefing.
When asked if the problem will have an impact on the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, the spokeswoman said, “The two matters are unrelated, and trade talks with India continue.” Both sides wish to see our two countries’ relationship improve.
“On security, we expressed our concerns about the scenes we saw outside the High Commission and a review is underway.” It came as the latest set of protests outside India House in London are expected over three days until Saturday, with a demonstration also planned outside the Indian Consulate in Birmingham on Sunday.
Since the March 19 violent incident, there has been a conspicuous Met Police presence near the Indian High Commission in London, with demonstrators now confined behind barricades across the street from the mission buildings.
Protesters hurled coloured flares and water bottles at the mission during a scheduled demonstration there last Wednesday. They have since resorted to social media to claim that the objects were thrown by the Indian mission instead, claims that India House has refuted.
India lodged a strong complaint with the UK government, and the matter was also brought up in the House of Commons.
It followed UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s statement to condemn the “unacceptable” acts of violence and an assurance to conduct a security review.
“We will always take the security of the High Commission, and all foreign missions in the UK, extremely seriously, and prevent and robustly respond to incidents such as this,” said Cleverly.