New Delhi: After the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco by pro-Khalistan protesters, India on Monday, March 20, registered its “strong protest” with the United States calling for “appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents”.
India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA) held a meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires – the top US diplomat in the country at the moment – for the US government “to be reminded of its basic obligation to protect and secure diplomatic representation”.
Later, at the White House press briefing, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said in answer to a question that the US condemned the vandalism, which was “absolutely unacceptable”. “The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service is working with local authorities,” he added. Kirby also noted that the US State Department is “working from, a infrastructure perspective, to repair the damage”.
The press note from the MEA also mentioned that Indian Embassy in Washington DC also conveyed India’s “concerns” to US State Department.
The incident in San Francisco took place on Sunday, March 19, the very day when the Indian high commission in London was attacked by Khalistan supporters. However, the videos of the attack in San Francisco emerged on Monday, March 20.
In the case of the UK, India had ‘summoned’ the UK deputy high commissioner on Sunday night and lodged a strong protest over the London incident.
It is significant to note that the language used by the MEA in the case of the UK stands in contrast to that used in the case of the US. The word ‘summon’ is not deployed in the case of the US, instead, the official note said India conveyed its “strong protest” with the US.
Meanwhile, the US State department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs condemned the attack in a tweet. “The U.S. condemns the attack on Sunday against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Violence against diplomatic facilities within the U.S. is a punishable crime. It is our priority to defend the security & safety of these facilities & the diplomats who work within them.”
The U.S. condemns the attack on Sunday against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Violence against diplomatic facilities within the U.S. is a punishable crime. It is our priority to defend the security & safety of these facilities & the diplomats who work within them.
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) March 20, 2023
Attack in San Francisco
As per videos that were circulated on social media, protesters broke open the security barriers put in by the San Francisco city police and installed two Khalistani flags inside the premises. The protesters also spray-painted a huge graffiti saying “Free Amritpal” on the outer wall of the building, according to NDTV.
After consulate employees removed the flags, the protesters surged past the damaged security barriers and started hitting at the doors and videos with rods in their hand, PTI reported.
There was no immediate comment from San Francisco police on the incident.
In a press release, MEA said that the US government was “reminded of its basic obligation to protect and secure diplomatic representation”. The United States “was asked to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents”, added the press release.
The Indian embassy in Washington also conveyed India’s “concerns” to the US State Department.
The MEA had summoned the UK deputy high commissioner on Sunday night to lodge a “strong protest” after the Indian flag was brought down by pro-Khalistan protestors at the Indian high commission in London.
Terming the London attack as “unacceptable”, India had questioned the absence of security at the High commission. The UK minister of state for foreign, commonwealth and development Tariq Ahmad said that he was appalled.