Hours after India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat and accused Canada of interfering in its internal affairs over the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in Ottawa, the United States raised grave concerns over the development and the allegations levelled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The statement from Washington came after Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the expelled Indian diplomat was the head of Indian intelligence in Canada and added her PM also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau. We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Canadian PM Trudeau raised issue of Nijjar’s killing during bilateral meeting with Modi
The major development between the two nations came as PM Trudeau, who had recently visited New Delhi for the G20 Summit where he held a bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, alleged that Canadian intelligence agencies have “credible” information about the involvement of New Delhi in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Even, while addressing the Canadian Parliament on Monday, Trudeau claimed that he had raised the issue with PM Modi during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
Subsequently, Canadian FM announced the expulsion of an Indian diplomat. Soon after her announcement, India released a statement where it condemned the “baseless” allegations levelled by PM Trudeau.
“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it wrote in a statement issued earlier today.
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India has long demanded that Canada take action against the Sikh independence movement, which is banned in India but has support in countries like Canada and the UK with sizable Sikh diaspora populations. Canada has a Sikh population of more than 7,70,000, about 2% of its total population.
In March, the Modi government summoned the Canadian high commissioner in New Delhi, the top diplomat in the country, to complain about Sikh independence protests in Canada. In 2020, India’s foreign ministry also summoned the top diplomat over comments made by Trudeau about an agricultural protest movement associated with the state of Punjab, where many Sikhs live.
(With inputs from agency)