India Open to Investigating Sikh Separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s Killing, Says Foreign Minister
India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, responded to allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, regarding the involvement of Indian agents in the alleged killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Jaishankar stated that India would be open to examining any “specific” or “relevant” information that Canada could provide related to the case. This statement was made amidst a heated exchange between the two nations, with India expressing its discontentment over the allegations.
India’s Diplomatic Stance
Jaishankar, outlining India’s diplomatic stance, reassured Canada that such actions were not aligned with the Indian government’s policies. He emphasized India’s readiness to scrutinize any credible evidence put forth by Canada. In response to the allegations, India has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visas for Canadians and requested Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in India, citing a deteriorating security environment.
India’s Concerns Over Organized Crime in Canada
India has consistently raised concerns with Canada about allegations that organized criminal elements, including separatists like Nijjar, are operating from Canada. India has made several extradition requests in this regard. Jaishankar pointed out that the current situation cannot be fully understood without considering the context. He indicated that Canada has seen a rise in organized crime related to secessionist forces, with violence and extremism being deeply intertwined. This, he stated, should also be factored into the discussion.
International Response and Cooperation
Canada’s allies, including the United States, have expressed concern over the allegations and have urged India to cooperate with Canada’s investigation. The U.S. ambassador to Canada revealed that some information on the case has been gathered by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which is composed of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The Five Eyes alliance members have encouraged India to cooperate with Canadian authorities to uncover the truth behind the allegations.
Impact on Bilateral Relations
These allegations have strained the relations between India and Canada, leading to a suspension of visa processing and a reduction in diplomatic presence. These actions have disrupted the travel plans of thousands, including a large diaspora population. While Canada has not taken similar retaliatory measures, tensions persist between the two nations. The exchange of top diplomats and the suspension of trade talks valued at tens of billions of dollars further underline the gravity of the situation.
The allegations have also put a spotlight on Canada’s Sikh community. Canada is home to about 770,000 Sikhs, the highest population of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab. The Sikh community’s reaction to the allegations and its impact will play a crucial role in shaping the future dynamics of India-Canada relations.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.