Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that there are “credible allegations” linking India’s government to the fatal shooting of a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia in June. New Delhi Rejects Accusations and Expels Diplomats.
Justin Trudeau’s remarks have led to a tense exchange with New Delhi, resulting in diplomatic expulsions and further straining relations between the two G20 nations.
Citing intelligence from national security services, Trudeau informed Parliament on Monday that Canadian authorities were investigating potential involvement of “agents” from the Indian government in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, near Vancouver, a region with a substantial Sikh population.
“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,” Trudeau asserted. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”
Justin Trudeau disclosed that he discussed these allegations with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 summit in New Delhi last week.
In response, Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat on Monday, as confirmed by Mélanie Joly, the country’s foreign minister. She emphasized Canada’s commitment to protecting its citizens and called for India’s cooperation in investigating the matter.
India promptly dismissed Trudeau’s accusations as “absurd and motivated” and denied any involvement. The Indian government also expelled a Canadian diplomat, citing concerns about Canadian diplomats interfering in Indian internal matters and engaging in anti-India activities.
Tensions between India and Canada have existed for some time, including disagreements between their leaders. In 2020, India accused Canada of interference when Trudeau voiced support for protesting farmers in India. This recent incident has further strained relations and led to a pause in free trade agreement talks.
Canada is home to a substantial Sikh population, and some Sikh Canadians support the Khalistan independence movement, which seeks to establish a sovereign state in India’s Punjab state. India opposes this movement and has accused Canada of sheltering Sikh separatists.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada has called Nijjar’s killing an “assassination” and urged Ottawa to investigate India’s role. British Columbia police identified three suspects but made no arrests.
Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party and a Sikh, vowed to pursue justice and hold Narendra Modi accountable.
Pro-Khalistan protests have incited anger from India’s government, leading to attacks on Indian diplomatic missions in San Francisco and London.
In July, India summoned Canada’s high commissioner in New Delhi after a “Khalistan freedom rally” in Toronto.
A UK government spokesperson expressed their involvement in the ongoing investigation by Canadian authorities.
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