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Is Russia’s show of solidarity with India over alleged murder plot on US soil ‘fishing in troubled waters’?

Russia’s show of solidarity with India over allegations of an attempted assassination on US soil is not expected to rattle ties between Washington and New Delhi, according to observers, with one analyst noting Moscow is “fishing in troubled waters”.

Experts also say India is likely to strike a middle ground between Russia and the United States, with Delhi still maintaining an arms and oil trade with Moscow. Washington, meanwhile, has been perceived to be “gradual” in the handling of the alleged extrajudicial plot.

The Washington Post reported last month that an officer in India’s intelligence service was involved in a foiled scheme to assassinate Sikh leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who has described himself as a dual US-Canadian citizen, on American soil. An Indian government spokesman rebutted the accusation as “unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations on a serious matter”.

The White House said it viewed the reported role of the Indian intelligence service as a very serious matter, but last week expressed satisfaction with Delhi’s move to ensure accountability by setting up a high-level committee to investigate the matter.

According to Indian news agency ANI, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week that “Washington has not yet provided any reliable evidence of the involvement of Indian citizens in the preparation of the murder of a certain GS Pannun. Speculation on this topic in the absence of evidence is unacceptable”.

She also said the US conduct showed disrespect to India as a state.

“The whole thing is quite murky because in terms of public information, there is not much we know about it. [Russia is] fishing in troubled waters,” said Manoj Joshi, a fellow at the Delhi-based Observer