India has enjoyed a decade of exceptionalism in the international system. The reason behind this preferential treatment is India’s vibrant economy, thriving diaspora and the West’s compulsions to accommodate Indian follies to contain China. However, this emboldens India to act weird in the international system and gain maximum advantages to keep its house in order. In its 2021, BJP implemented the National Register of Citizens Act followed by the Citizen Amendment Act despite nationwide protests. The callous response from the international community opened up avenues for the Indian government in general and the intelligence community in particular to act with impunity to ally the voices worldwide.
A series of killings of leaders of Indian minority communities from South Asia to North America by the Indian intelligence agencies’ undercover agents is a new addition to India’s acts of aggression. However, the reaction from the international policy circles to these events is an eye-opener for the South Block in New Delhi. The revelations by Five Eye nations are so accurate that it has created havoc among the Indian intelligence community. However, there is no way back but to face the global humiliation and the intricacies of the international system.
There have been reports in the media about the involvement of Indian intelligence officers in the killing of Sikh leaders. A Financial Times report revealed that US intelligence had unearthed an assassination attempt of a Sikh separatist on American soil. This news is one among the constellations of media reports where India is accused of eliminating Sikh leaders in Europe and the Americas. India’s dirty mission of assassination doesn’t stop in the western corridors rather it has been a permanent feature of India’s intelligence agencies in the neighbourhood. Pakistani intelligence bureau shared some documents with The Intercept highlighting a detailed plan and history of India’s assassination spree against Kashmiri and Sikh separatists in Pakistan. The records reveal several instances of targeted killings orchestrated by local criminals, accompanied by details indicating collaboration between a RAW agent in Pakistan and counterparts in the UAE and Afghanistan. It indicates that Pakistan is not an anomaly; rather, the Indian intelligence apparatus has a vast footprint in the region to carry out such operations.
What has motivated India to go to this extent? How do the global players read this campaign? These queries may remain a puzzle to solve for numerous analysts but certain geopolitical truths illustrate the behaviour of a state that has been delusional of exceptionalism in the global arena. India’s ascent to the global pedestal and increasing economic strength with the west’s compulsion to accommodate India’s rogue behaviour to contain China are the major factors behind a misplaced understanding of the Indian elite to go loose against everything. The special treatment of India by the international system, particularly the US-based global order keeps India at a trajectory of a major player.
India’s reaction to these developments has been intransigent and away from the diplomatic norms. Instead of adhering to international norms, the Indian government has been expelling the Canadian diplomats after being caught red-handed. It attributed Justin Trudeau’s remarks in the Canadian parliament as an attempt to gain political mileage in upcoming general elections. However, the follow-up developments in the US and UK have put India on the back foot. The Indian government has now shown a willingness to cooperate with the Canadian, American and British governments in the investigation of a series of murders.
India has been in the limelight of international media for its notorious acts of assassinations. The global reaction to these attempts is a clarion call for the prime minister Modi and planners in the South Block. New Delhi should realize that dissent is the fulcrum of liberal democracies and has been accommodated in the form of protests and political activism. The current state of democracy in India and the severe violation of human rights against the non-Hindu minorities have instigated the international civil society to put pressure on western policy circles to tame India to behave within the international norms. If the Indian government in general and the intelligence community in particular do not adhere to the sanctity of the intelligence craft, its destination is not different from the KGB of Russia.