The U.S. government says it asked Indian authorities about allegations of a foiled assassination plot targeting a U.S.-Canadian citizen and it expects anyone deemed responsible to be "held accountable."
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson says in a statement the U.S. government is "treating the issue with utmost seriousness" and raised it with the "senior-most" levels of India's government.
She was responding to a report in the Financial Times alleging U.S. authorities thwarted a plan to assassinate Sikhs for Justice general counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil, and raised concerns that India's government was involved.
Pannun, a dual citizen, is an organizer of a series of Sikh separatist votes in Canada and the United States.
Watson says in a statement that Indian officials expressed "surprise and concern" and told the Americans that such activities were not their policy.
India's High Commission in Ottawa did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Pannun was in British Columbia as recently as late October, when a Sikh gurdwara hosted the second round of a non-binding vote on the establishment of Khalistan — an independent Sikh state within India.
The gurdwara's leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was shot dead outside the temple in June, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in September there were "credible allegations" linking the killing to India's government.