New Delhi: India on Tuesday rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ‘absurd and motivated’ allegations in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar and expelled a senior Canadian Diplomat in retaliation.
“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated…We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law,” the statement of Minister of External Affairs said.
“We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil,” the strongly worded statement added.
On expelling the Canadian diplomat, New Delhi said: “The decision reflects India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their Involvement in anti-India activities.” The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within five days.
This came a day after Canada accused Indian Indian government agents of being involved in the alleged murder and expelled New Delhi’s intelligence chief in Ottawa. Trudeau told an emergency session of the parliamentary opposition at mid-afternoon that 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. “In no uncertain terms, any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said.
Nijjar was a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland. He was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.
“If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie, said, adding that the expelled Indian is the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, in Canada.
US-based senior Defence Analyst Derek J. Grossman said that the allegation “could be most significant test of the strength of US-India partnership since early 2000s.” “Canada’s bombshell accusation today against India could be most significant test of strength of US-India partnership since early 2000s. That said, US will pull out all the stops to keep India close by its side to help counter China, which could mean staying out of this mess,” he wrote on X.
Notably, the tension between India and Canada flared further earlier this month during the G20 summit in New Delhi when Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” during a meeting with Trudeau.
In a sign of things, Canadian trade minister Mary Ng ‘postponed’ a planned trade mission to Mumbai next month without giving any explanation.