Authorities in the Philippines have arrested suspected members of a banned Sikh separatist group, a government agency announced, as a massive manhunt continued in India to arrest pro-Khalistani elements.
A joint operation by the Bureau of Immigration, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), and the Military Intelligence Group-led to the arrest of three Indian nationals in an apartment in Iloilo City earlier in March, the Philippines News Agency reported.
"The well-coordinated lightning strike by operatives caught members of the militant group flatfooted and (they) did not attempt to resist the heavily armed troops," CICC Executive Director Alexander Ramos said in a statement on Monday.
"The President will not tolerate any foreign terrorist to set foot in the country," Ramos said.
They are currently in the custody of the Philippine military, and belong to the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), according to an Arab News report.
Led by Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the KTF has been listed as a terrorist organisation in India, which aims to revive militancy in Punjab.
The suspects, identified as Manpreet Singh, 23; Amritpal Singh, 24; and Arshdeep Singh, 26 -- all Indian nationals, are also being probed for their alleged ties to the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF), which is banned in India and draws its members from LeT and JeM.
According to the news agency, the three entered the country using fake passports, and are also on the Interpol Red Notice watchlist.
The development comes even as 'Waris Punjab De' chief and fugitive pro-Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh continues to evade arrest, changing his location and looks multiple times.
Khalistani sympathisers maintain an active presence in countries like Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Malaysia, Philippines, U.K. and U.S.
According to police and intelligence officials in Punjab, nine organisations operating out of six different countries are to blame for the spurt in violence and terror.