India has expelled a Canadian diplomat, a day after Canada did the same to an Indian diplomat amid tensions over the killing of a Sikh separatist in Surrey.
India said Tuesday it had asked a Canadian diplomat to leave the country within five days. Media reports identified him as Olivier Sylvestère, Ottawa’s intelligence chief in Delhi.
“This decision reflects the Indian government’s growing concern over interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and their involvement in anti-Indian activities,” the Indian foreign ministry said. said in a statement.
On Monday, Ottawa gave marching orders to an Indian diplomat in connection with the June 18 assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, home to a large Sikh community.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Parliament on Monday that Indian agents may have killed the separatist activist on Canadian soil.
“Canadian security agencies are actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between Indian government agents and the murder of a Canadian citizen,” said Trudeau, who depends on the support of Canada’s 800,000 Sikhs, who represent two percent of Canada’s Sikh population. population, to stay in power.
“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the Indian government… to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.
Murder, he said
Trudeau said he raised the issue in discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in Delhi earlier this month.
Delhi has rejected allegations that India was involved in Nijjar’s death.
“We are a democratic regime with a strong commitment to the rule of law,” India said, before retaliating with a counterattack against the Canadian diplomatic corps.
“The space given to Canada for a range of illegal activities, including murder, human trafficking and organized crime, is not new,” the statement said, calling on Canada to eliminate all “ anti-Indian elements” operating from its soil.
BIG BREAK ⚡️
Relations between India and Canada are deteriorating.
Canada expels top Indian diplomat as it investigates whether India is linked to the killing of a Sikh activist, AP reports
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said that the Indian government may be behind the fatal shooting of Khalistani Hardeep… pic.twitter.com/J5gUIxXZ77
– Megh Updates 🚨™ (@MeghUpdates) September 18, 2023
The United States, for its part, expressed “deep concern” over allegations of a “possible link between Indian government agents and Nijjar’s shooting near a Sikh temple.”
“It is essential that Canada’s investigation continues and the perpetrators are brought to justice,” White House spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told local media in Washington, DC.
Trudeau also reportedly spoke to US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – two leaders present at the G20 talks in Delhi.
Summit of Camouflets
In Delhi, Modi did not hold a formal meeting with Trudeau and publicly expressed “deep concern” over what he called a Sikh insurgency in Canada.
Trudeau was snubbed upon arrival when he was picked up in an old Toyota car, while others were given glitzy Audis and Mercedes.
Moreover, Delhi did not display the usual welcome note when Trudeau landed with his son Xavier.
Upon his return, Trudeau found himself stranded for nearly two days in Delhi after his official flight encountered a problem and broke down.
Relations between India and Canada deteriorated in 2020 when Delhi accused Trudeau of interference after he came out in support of thousands of farmers who had been campaigning for months to oppose the bill they feared that it would turn them into poor people.
Last week, Canada postponed its trade mission to India until October, but gave no reason.