Canada urges India to take killing of Sikh leader seriously, with US ‘concerned’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed an urgent diplomatic issue on Tuesday, September 19, emphasizing that Canada is not seeking to “provoke” or “escalate” tensions with India. However, he urged New Delhi to take the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar with “utmost seriousness”.

Trudeau’s remarks came shortly after Canada and India each expelled a senior diplomat from their countries, triggered by allegations made by the Canadian prime minister regarding the involvement of “agents of the Indian government” in the assassination of Nijjar in June.

“We want to work with the Indian government to make everything clear and to ensure that there are proper processes,” Trudeau told reporters.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, leader of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and one of India’s most wanted terrorists, was fatally shot by two unidentified gunmen outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18. carried a substantial cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head.

In a speech in the House of Commons on Monday (September 18), Trudeau said Canadian security agencies were actively investigating credible allegations linking Indian government agents to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

In response to these allegations, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly confirmed the expulsion of a “senior Indian diplomat”. India quickly dismissed Trudeau’s claims as “absurd and motivated.” The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement saying “allegations that the Indian government is involved in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated.”

Trade tensions between India and Canada have escalated in recent months, leading to the cancellation of trade negotiations. The dispute over Nijjar’s murder further strains bilateral relations.

Additionally, the United States has expressed concern over the situation. A senior State Department official stressed that U.S. authorities were in close contact with their Canadian counterparts regarding allegations of Indian government involvement in the killing. The official urged India to fully cooperate with the investigation.

“We are very concerned about these allegations. We believe it is important that a full and open investigation be conducted, and we urge the Indian government to cooperate in this investigation,” the official said during a press briefing .

The escalation of the diplomatic conflict threatens to impact not only political relations but also commercial relations between the two nations. Negotiations on a proposed trade deal were frozen and both countries expelled a diplomat in a tit-for-tat response.


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