“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. We hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter,” Trudeau told a news conference on Saturday.
Trudeau had first linked Nijjar’s killing to India on Monday, prompting a quick and stern denial by India. Canada has shared no specific information regarding its charges, India said, flagging “politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” in that country.
The allegation triggered tit-for-tat moves like expelling diplomats that escalated underlying tensions to a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries. India has suspended visa services citing “security threats” to its High Commissions and consulates in Canada.
The government has also accused Canada of “diplomatic interference” in India’s internal affairs. The Foreign Ministry has asked Canada to downsize its diplomats in India since their presence is larger than what India has.
Both India and Canada issued travel advisories and expelled a senior diplomat of the other country, wrapping a week of tensions, multiple rounds of charges and counterattacks. India has asked its citizens living in or travelling to Canada to exercise caution in view of “growing anti-India activities”.
India has also accused Canada of not acting upon “specific evidence about criminal activities” done by Canada-based individuals. The government had earlier flagged that their political figures were openly expressing sympathy for “such elements”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday called on India to cooperate with Canada and said his nation has been in touch with both the countries. “We want to see accountability. And it’s important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result,” he told reporters in New York.
India and Canada had tensions brewing after Prime Minister Narendra Modi scolded Trudeau at the Delhi G20 summit over Khalistan supporters attacking Indian diplomatic missions in Canada. Days later, Canada had postponed a trade mission to India, planned for October.
A week after that, Trudeau made the explosive charge that “Indian government agents” could be behind the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and a wanted terrorist in India, outside a gurdwara in Surrey in June. India rejected the allegation as “absurd”.
Canada has been among the favoured hubs of Sikh expatriates that has seen a rise in extremism over the last few years. It saw multiple Khalistani activities in the past few months, including protests outside the Indian Embassy and threat posters for Indian diplomats.
With inputs from NDTV