US principal deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer has informed his Indian interlocutors of the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible for allegedly plotting to kill a Khalistani leader on American soil, according to a readout from the White House

The leaders agreed to deepen maritime security cooperation by further strengthening existing dialogue mechanisms like the India-Kenya Joint Defence Cooperation Committee set up under the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation signed between the two countries in 2016.

Finer, who was in New Delhi for a review of the India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), raised the plot during meetings with Indian officials, the readout said.

He was the first US security official to hold publicly acknowledged meetings with the Indian leadership since American prosecutors alleged last week that an Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, had worked with an official purportedly responsible for intelligence in a thwarted plot to assassinate Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

Finer “acknowledged India’s establishment of a Committee of Enquiry to investigate lethal plotting in the United States and the importance of holding accountable anyone found responsible”, the White House readout said without giving details.

The readout also didn’t specify which Indian officials Finer raised the issue with. The readout said Finer “conducted bilateral and regional consultations” with deputy national security advisor Vikram Misri, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra.

Finer and Misri carried out an intersessional review of the iCET, which the White House readout described as a “major milestone in the US-India partnership, which is increasingly defined by strategic security and technology cooperation”.

The readout added that Finer’s consultations with the other Indian officials were in-depth discussions aimed at strengthening coordination and policy alignment across the Indo-Pacific, including the wider Indian Ocean region.

The two sides also discussed West Asia, including the recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the importance of safeguarding freedom of commercial navigation, plans for a post-conflict Gaza and a pathway toward a two-state solution.

India has set up a high-level inquiry committee to examine the allegations of a conspiracy to kill Pannun, a senior leader of the outlawed SFJ who has already been declared a terrorist by India. New Delhi has described the indictment filed against Gupta in a US federal court in Manhattan as a “matter of concern” and said that follow-up action will be taken on the findings of the inquiry committee.