US urges Indian Cooperation with Canada’s investigation of Sikh leader’s killing « Khabarhub
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US urges Indian Cooperation with Canada’s investigation of Sikh leader’s killing

20 September 2023  

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WASHINGTON: An unprecedented allegation by one leading democracy essentially accusing another of carrying out a political assassination on its soil is causing significant concern among key allies of both nations.

Officials in Washington and London are assessing the ramifications after Canada publicly tied India’s government to the killing of a Sikh leader three months ago.

Canada on Monday announced that in response, it had expelled the top Indian intelligence official in Canada. India on Tuesday retaliated by ordering a senior Canadian diplomat to depart the country.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau,” said Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.

“We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed, and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

The United States is urging India to cooperate with the Canadian investigation, according to a senior State Department official.

India’s government says any allegations of involvement by its officials in acts of violence in Canada are “absurd and motivated.”

“The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.

The allegations, however, “have the potential to cloud out other strategic challenges Canada faces, such as foreign interference by China and Russia. The timing comes less than one year after Canada’s release of an Indo-Pacific strategy which highlighted the aspirations for greater partnership with India,” noted Jonathan Berkshire Miller, director of foreign affairs, national security and defense at Canada’s Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

Canadian officials have not revealed what evidence they have linking India to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen.

“I fear that this incident, regardless of the veracity of Ottawa’s accusation, will have a generational impact on Canada’s relations with India. The damage has been done with the very public loss of face for Delhi,” Miller told VOA.

“On the other hand, if this is credible and definitive evidence points to Delhi’s direct involvement, it is an egregious act that needs to be called out and reprimanded. There are still many questions about how closely India is linked to this.”

A Canadian source is quoted by Reuters saying, “we’ve been working with the U.S. very closely, including on the public disclosure yesterday,” adding that Canadian evidence implicating India would be revealed “in due course.”

When contacted by VOA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation declined comment.

British officials say they are in touch with their Canadian counterparts about the matter.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further during the ongoing investigation by the Canadian authorities,” said a government official in London.

India has repeatedly accused Canada of harboring “Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who are considered a threat to Indian national security.

Canadian officials have now canceled an economic mission to Mumbai next month. Officials in Ottawa and New Delhi acknowledged on Tuesday that Canadian-Indian trade talks are on hold.

Nijjar was shot dead by two masked gunmen on June 18 in a Vancouver suburb outside a Sikh temple, of which he was the president. Police said it was a targeted killing and have sought a third suspect who they say helped the assassins flee.


Publish Date : 20 September 2023 09:33 AM

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