Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked the Indian government for collaboration following intelligence reports linking India to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). The incident, which occurred outside a Surrey gurdwara in June, has strained diplomatic relations between Canada and India to an unprecedented level.
Escalating Diplomatic Tensions
In response to the alleged evidence of Indian involvement in the murder, New Delhi and Ottawa took the dramatic step of expelling each other’s senior diplomats. India’s decision to do so underscored its “escalating concerns about Canadian diplomatic interference in its internal affairs and their alleged involvement in anti-state activities,” as expressed by their foreign ministry.
Further amplifying the tensions, Trudeau, during his address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, stated, “We urge the Indian government to collaborate with us in establishing processes to reveal the truth behind this incident and ensure justice is upheld.”
However, Trudeau refrained from disclosing the specifics of the intelligence that attributed India’s involvement, hinting that such details would emerge in court if the matter progressed to a legal trial.
India’s Retaliation and Broader Implications
The allegations were met with a vehement denial from India, dismissing any claims of their involvement as “ridiculous.” India halted Canadian visa processes as a countermeasure, citing “security threats” that disrupted their officials’ functions. Additionally, India has called for significantly reducing Canadian diplomatic staff within its borders.
Addressing the global response to his allegations, Trudeau clarified that Canada’s intention was not to agitate but to seek truth and justice. He observed a notably reserved reaction from international allies, primarily due to the West’s ongoing efforts, led by the USA, to forge stronger ties with India amidst rising concerns about China’s influence.
Trudeau emphasized Canada’s unwavering commitment to the rule of law and the protection of its citizens. In a plea for cooperation, he stated, “We demand the Indian government to address this issue with utmost seriousness. I am committed to ensuring the safety of Canadians.”
Reports suggest that Trudeau also engaged in a candid conversation with Indian Prime Minister Modi, urging for mutual collaboration and emphasizing the integrity of Canada’s independent justice system.