NEW DELHI: External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Sunday gave a stern warning to pro-Khalistani elements, saying that India will not tolerate any disrespect towards its national flag.
“The days when India would have taken this lightly are behind us and this is not the India which will accept its national flag being pulled down by somebody,” Jaishankar said at an event in Bengaluru.
The remarks come in response to incidents of Indian flag being taken down by separatist elements at the country’s high commission in UK and consulate in San Francisco. The incidents came in the backdrop of the crack down on pro-Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh and his aides in Punjab.
Speaking about India’s move to unfurl a gigantic triclour at its UK high commission in the wake of these incidents, Jaishankar said that it was a message to the “so-called Khalistanis” as well as the British.
“It is a message not only to those so-called Khalistanis but also to the British, saying this is my flag and I will make it even bigger if somebody tries to disrespect it,” the external affairs minister said.
Narrating the aftermath of the incident, Jaishankar said, “The first thing our high commissioner did, he brought an even bigger flag and he put it right up there … in that sense, the idea that there is today a different India, an India which is very responsible and firm.”
Responding to a question on separatist movements in different parts of the world, Jaishankar said, “We have seen in the last few days some such incidents in London, Canada, Australia, San Francisco. There is a very small minority, with different interests, some interests are of neighbours, some interests are of people who try to use it for visas and for personal interest.”
“They try to project this for their advantage and there are others who do not frankly wish India well,” he added.
He also indirectly condemned the lack of security provided by UK at the Indian high commission which led to the tricolour incident.
” … when we established embassies abroad … when our diplomats are performing their task, we are very clear that it is the obligation of the country where these embassies are, where these diplomats are to provide security. After all, we provide security for so many foreign embassies.”
“If they do not provide security, if they do not take this seriously and if there are such incidents, then we will give reactions from India,” he said.
The UK government had earlier condemned the attacks on the Indian mission as “unacceptable” and committed to “robustly respond” to such incidents of violence
(With inputs from ANI)