Not looking to provoke India, says Canada’s Trudeau after tit-for-tat expulsions | World News - Hindustan Times
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Not looking to provoke India, says Canada’s Trudeau after tit-for-tat expulsions

Sep 20, 2023 05:22 AM IST

Justin Trudeau’s speech in Canada’s Parliament on Monday was followed by foreign minister Mélanie Joly announcing the expulsion of a “top Indian diplomat”

TORONTO: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his statement on the possible involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar was not meant to “escalate” tensions with New Delhi.

Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat as it investigates what Trudeau called credible allegations that India’s government may have had links to the assassination in Canada of a Sikh activist. (AP)
Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat as it investigates what Trudeau called credible allegations that India’s government may have had links to the assassination in Canada of a Sikh activist. (AP)

“We are not looking to provoke or escalate. We are simply laying out the facts as we understand them,” he said in Ottawa on Tuesday morning, according to public broadcaster CBC.

“The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that,” Trudeau said, a day after his speech in the House of Commons that was followed by Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian diplomat.

India described Trudeau’s allegations as absurd and motivated, summoned Canadian envoy Cameron MacKay to the external affairs ministry and informed him of New Delhi’s decision to expel a senior Canadian diplomat, the head of Canadian intelligence in India.

Also Read: Why expulsion of Indian diplomat from Canada is departure from norm

“The decision reflects the Indian government’s “growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities”, a statement issued by the external affairs ministry said later.

On Monday, Trudeau said that over the “past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.” He added that he communicated Ottawa’s “deep concern” over the killing of Nijjar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi “in no uncertain terms” when they met during a pull-aside on the margins of the G20 leaders’ summit.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves,” Trudeau said on Monday.

The accusation was widely seen to further damage bilateral relations, which were already at an all-time low over the activities of pro-Khalistan elements in Canada, including holding a so-called referendum on a separate homeland for Sikhs, targeting of Indian diplomatic premises, and incitement of violence against top Indian officials.

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