The White House went to extraordinary lengths last year to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a state visit meant to bolster ties with an ascendant power and potential partner against China.

Tables on the South Lawn were decorated with lotus blooms, the symbol of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. A chef was flown in from California to preside over a vegetarian menu. President Biden extolled the shared values of a relationship “built on mutual trust, candor and respect.”

But even as the Indian leader was basking in U.S. adulation on June 22, an officer in India’s intelligence service was relaying final instructions to a hired hit team to kill one of Modi’s most vocal critics in the United States.