Trudeau's fresh claim on Nijjar killing, US says ‘engaged with Indian govt’

Sep 23, 2023 06:25 AM IST

Canadian PM Trudeau says Ottawa shared allegations regarding the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar with India weeks ago.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said that Ottawa had shared allegations regarding the killing of pro-Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar with India weeks ago. During a joint press briefing alongside Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ottawa, Trudeau said that Canada wants to "work constructively with India" to get to the “bottom of this very serious matter.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at Rajghat in New Delhi during the G20 Summit earlier this month. (AP File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at Rajghat in New Delhi during the G20 Summit earlier this month. (AP File Photo)

A major diplomatic row erupted after Trudeau alleged “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist, in Surrey, British Columbia, in June. India has rejected the allegations as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official over the case.

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“In regards to India, Canada has shared the credible allegations that I talked about on Monday. With India, we did that many weeks ago. We are there to work constructively with India and we hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter,” Trudeau said.

Canada, however, hasn't yet provided any public evidence that supports Trudeau’s accusation of Indian involvement in the killing of Nijjar. A Canadian media report citing government sources said that Ottawa's allegations are based on both human and signals intelligence and inputs from an ally of the Five Eye intelligence network.

The Five Eyes network is an intelligence alliance consisting of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

India yet to get info that backs Canada claim

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said that Washington is "deeply concerned" about the allegations and wants to see accountability. While addressing a press conference in New York, Blinken said that the US has engaged directly with the Indian government and called it "important" that the investigation runs its course and leads to the result.

"We are deeply concerned about the allegations that Prime Minister Trudeau has raised. We have been consulting throughout very closely with our Canadian colleagues, and not just consulting, coordinating with them on this issue."

"And from our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceed. And it would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability, and it's important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result," he added.

Blinken, however, refused to give details regarding the diplomatic conversations that the US had with both nations.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States is in communication with India on Canada's allegations.

"We have engaged with the Indian government. But certainly, we're not going to get into our private diplomatic conversations. But, yes, there have been conversations with our partners in the Indian government," Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference.

"Obviously, we are deeply concerned, as he said as well... what the Prime Minister (of Canada) has referenced here. And so, we remain in regular contact with the Canadian... government and the Canadian partners," she said.

Responding to questions, Jean-Pierre said she would not comment on diplomatic conversations.

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