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‘Attacking Canada won't…': Justin Trudeau claims 'tonal shift' in India relations after US plot row

Dec 20, 2023 08:20 PM IST

Justin Trudeau has accused unidentified Indian agents of having a hand in the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday claimed India-Canada relations have undergone what he called 'a tonal shift' since the US accused an Indian government employee of asking an individual to hire an assassin to kill separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. In an interview with CBC, he claimed there was an understanding that "they can't bluster their way through this".

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau has accused unidentified Indian agents of having a hand in the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. India has outrightly rejected the claim and demanded evidence from Ottawa.

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"I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they can't bluster their way through this and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before," Trudeau said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

"There's an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada isn't going to make this problem go away," he added.

A US indictment alleges that Indian officials offered $100,000 to a man named Nikhil Gupta to hire an assassin to kill Pannun in New York.

Also read: PM Modi breaks silence on assassination plot claims by US, ‘Our commitment is to the rule of law’

While India rejected Canada's claim, it said it was taking the indictment seriously.

Trudeau further said Canada doesn't want to fight with India even as China asserts its dominance in the Indo-Pacific region.

"We don't want to be in a situation of having a fight with India right now over this. We want to be working on that trade deal. We want to be advancing the Indo-Pacific strategy," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview with Financial Times, said India's commitment is to the rule of law. He, however, said a few incidents would not derail US-India ties.

“If someone gives us any information, we would definitely look into it,” Modi said. “If a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law.”

Expressing deep concern over the activities of certain extremist groups based overseas, Modi told the financial daily, “These elements, under the guise of freedom of expression, have engaged in intimidation and incited violence.”

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