In a reprisal mode to the removal of the Indian flag by protestors outside the Indian High Commission in London, security barricades outside the UK High Commission and the residence of the British High Commissioner in Delhi were removed by India after a span of three days.
A pro-Khalistan protestor removed the Indian flag from the High Commission in London on Sunday, leading to India summoning the UK Deputy High Commissioner to lodge a protest. India accused the British government of being indifferent towards the security of diplomatic premises.
The following day, the Indian High Commissioner in the UK, Vikram Doraiswamy, had a meeting with “concerned Indian community leaders” and expressed gratitude for their solidarity in the aftermath of the attack on the High Commission.
The following day, Vikram Doraiswami released a video statement regarding the ongoing efforts to apprehend Amritpal Singh and the situation in Punjab.
On March 21, a group of Indians assembled outside the Indian High Commission in London to demonstrate against the removal of the Indian flag by Sikh groups. Three days after the attack on the Indian High Commission in London, on March 22, India removed the long concrete blocks that were obstructing vehicular movement outside the gates of the UK High Commission in Chanakyapuri, as well as from the UK High Commissioner’s residence in Rajaji Marg. The last time India took such a step was in 2013 when security barricades outside the US embassy were publicly removed by cranes. The move came after Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was arrested, body-searched, and faced allegations of visa fraud and mistreatment of a domestic worker from India.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) did not issue any official statement regarding India’s retaliatory action against the UK High Commission. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the British High Commission stated, “We do not make any comments on security-related matters.”
According to reports, protests were scheduled outside the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday, for which the local police maintained a heavy presence. In most countries, the security of the outer perimeter of diplomatic missions is handled by the local police.
India had also expressed its displeasure to the US Charge d’Affaires over the damage caused to the doors and windows of the San Francisco consulate, but security barriers outside the US embassy have not been removed yet.
During the Khobragade crisis ten years ago, India had reduced its bilateral contacts with the US and had even refused appointments to a visiting delegation of lawmakers with top Indian officials. However, the situation doesn’t seem to be heading in that direction yet. On Wednesday, India’s Minister for Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh, met with the top UK official for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero.