The U.S. has supported Canada’s probe into assassinating Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, urging India’s cooperation. White House NSC spokesperson John Kirby highlighted the need for a transparent investigation.
Canada suspects Indian governmental links to Nijjar’s assassination. In relation, Canada expelled India’s top intelligence agent. Najjar, who advocated for an independent Khalistani state, was labelled a “terrorist” by India in 2020, a claim he refuted. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, condemned foreign involvement in the assassination as a breach of Canada’s sovereignty and urged India to take the investigation seriously. In retaliation, India expelled a Canadian diplomat and termed Canada’s claims “motivated”.
Kirby stressed President Joe Biden’s awareness of the issue and urged against speculative judgments on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s potential involvement. He emphasized waiting for investigation results before any action. Another NSC spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, refuted allegations that the U.S. dismissed Canada’s investigative efforts.
As a Foreign Office spokesperson, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch indicated that the situation unveiled India’s global “network of extra-territorial killings”. She also implicated India’s intelligence agency, RAW, in abductions and assassinations in South Asia, pointing to evidence of RAW’s involvement in a 2021 Lahore attack.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi was unsurprised by the accusations against India, given previous instances like the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, where a high-ranking Indian military officer admitted to acts of terrorism in Pakistan. Qazi emphasized Pakistan’s readiness against India.
Due to the diplomatic strain, India and Canada updated their travel advisories. India warned against visiting parts of Canada due to alleged hate crimes. Canada advised against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir because of security threats but exempted Ladakh.
The Sikh community in Canada reacted to the investigation. Mukhbir Singh stated the Sikh community was not shocked by India’s alleged activities. Nijjar’s son hoped for justice, while Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, supported a probe into foreign interference in Canadian affairs, emphasizing suspicions about India’s interventions.