The UK government has assured the House of Commons that it takes the security of the Indian High Commission in London “extremely seriously”. In fact, on Monday (17) Security Minister Tom Tugendhat vowed to respond robustly to any criminal incidents that may occur at diplomatic missions in the country.
Tugendhat’s statement came in response to a written question by Navendu Mishra, an Indian-origin Labour MP, who raised concerns over recent assaults on staff and criminal damage at the Indian High Commission in London.
The Minister has called these incidents “unacceptable” and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to safeguarding the security of all missions in the UK.
The minister further added that the police have the necessary powers to deal with such acts, and that any follow-up actions in this regard would be an operational matter for the police, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The minister, however, maintained the government’s policy of not disclosing detailed information on diplomatic security arrangements, citing concerns over the potential compromise of such arrangements and the safety of individuals and locations involved.
Last month, Mishra had raised concerns over the security assessments promised by the British government in the wake of the attack on the Indian High Commission in London.
He had sought information on the measures being taken to ensure the safety of diplomatic missions.
A few days ago, it has been revealed that India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) will be taking over the case of the attempted vandalisation of India House in London. The decision was made due to the involvement of Indian nationals based abroad in the unlawful activities.
According to Indian officials, the NIA will now lead the investigation, taking over from the special cell of the Delhi Police which had registered the case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The attack had occurred on March 19th, when a group of pro-Khalistani protestors had vandalised the mission’s premises, shattering windows and pulling down the national flag. The protests had erupted a day after a crackdown by the local police against radical preacher Amritpal Singh in Punjab.