Unprecedented security at Indian embassy in Washington for Khalistan rally

Yashwant Raj (IANS)–

The US made unprecedented security arrangements at the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. on Tuesday in view of the demonstration by Khalistan activists, who had used particularly vitriolic language in the run-up to it.

Armed officers of the local metropolitan police and the US Park Police threw a protective ring around the embassy, which is situated on a busy thoroughfare in downtown Washington D.C.

A few officers remained specifically close to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, which is in front of the embassy, separated by a street.

While a squad of motorcycle-borne officers stood at the road on the side of the embassy, US Park Police officers on horseback patrolled the area, taking multiple rounds of the venue.

The level of security mounted by the US at the Indian embassy was probably without precedence. And Indian diplomats posted here have not worried in the past if concerns passed on by them to their US counterparts were taken with the same degree of alacrity as the Indian response to US concerns about security at their missions in New Delhi and in other Indian cities.

That changed Tuesday.

The embassy was closed for the day because of the Independence Day, but some staff were on duty. The main flag hoisting event was held earlier at the residence of the Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

Demonstrators were allowed on the street between the embassy building and the Gandhi statue. They began gathering there around noon with flags, placards and banners and were there for the next hour or two raising slogans and making speeches.

Every once in a while mounted police went around the venue on their tall horses and at one time split into two teams of four to stand guard flanking the embassy building.

The Indian embassy had been in constant touch with a multiplicity of US security forces for the demonstration in view of recent incidents of arson and vandalism by suspected Khalistan activists at the Indian consulate in San Francisco, which had received the attention of the US authorities going right up to the level of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who had responded in a tweet (now X) at the time saying, “We condemn the acts of violence against the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.”

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