Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has stated that he is not seeking to escalate the current row between his country and India over the killing of Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Speaking to reporters at the United Nations in New York, Trudeau called on India to cooperate with Canadian authorities to “uncover the truth” behind the killing.
Relations between the two countries have plunged to their lowest in years after Trudeau told Parliament on Monday, September 18, 2023, that there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in Nijjar’s assassination.
Trudeau’s allegation sparked a retaliatory move, with each country expelling a diplomat. India called the allegations “absurd.”
The row escalated further on Thursday, September 21, 2023, as India announced a suspension to visa processing in Canada.
“We are not looking to provoke or cause problems,” Trudeau said.
“But we are unequivocal about the rule of law and unequivocal about protecting Canadians and standing up for our values.” he added.
“That is why we call upon the government of India to work with us to establish processes, to uncover the truth of the matter and allow justice and accountability to be served.”Justin Trudeau
On Thursday, India asked Canada to come down hard on terrorists and anti-India elements operating from its soil.
India also asked Canada to downsize its diplomatic staff in the country. The size of Canadian diplomatic staff in India is larger than India’s diplomatic staff in Canada.
In his remarks, Trudeau acknowledged the complicated diplomatic situation.
“The decision to share these allegations on the floor of the House of Commons was not done lightly,” he said.
“There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with,” he added.
Nonetheless, Trudeau said, “We’re standing up for the rules-based order.”
“We’re standing up for the rule of law. We’re highlighting how unacceptable it would be for any country to be involved in the killing of a citizen on their home soil.”Justin Trudeau
Media reports indicated that the government is believed to be in possession of intelligence linking Indian officials and diplomats to the killing.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, among the trove of information gathered in the months-long investigation into the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar were communications involving Indian officials, including Indian diplomats working inside Canada.
A Canadian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that some of the intelligence was provided by a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to Canada.
The official did not say which ally provided intelligence.
Multiple national security sources also alleged that Indian officials did not dispute the allegations in closed-door meetings with Canadian officials.
U.S In Talks With Canada And India
U.S National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, disclosed that the U.S was consulting closely with its Canadian counterparts and has been in touch with the Indian government as well.
He noted that the allegations were a “matter of concern” for the White House.”
“I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the U.S and Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations, and we would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account.”Jake Sullivan
“There’s not some special exemption you get for actions like this,” Jake Sullivan told reporters.
“Regardless of the country, we will stand up and defend our basic principles and we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process.”Jake Sullivan
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