Friday, September 22, 2023
Days after a diplomatic face-off on the murder of a Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Indian government "to help uncover the truth of this matter" Thursday, in which it was found involved by his country's intelligence, as the bilateral ties hit the new low.
The leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was gunned down in June outside a gurdwara in Surrey, Canada which echoed earlier this week in PM Trudeau's speech in the House of Commons who underlined Indian involvement in the fatality.
New Delhi and Ottawa asked the other's senior diplomat to leave the country as the Indian decision of expulsion reflected its "growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in the internal matters and their involvement in [anti-state] activities", according to the foreign ministry.
"We call upon the government of India to work with us to establish processes to uncover the truth of this matter and to allow for justice and accountability to be served," Trudeau said Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The 51-year-old did not release the information to corroborate his allegations that led him Monday to name India as a perpetrator behind the killing suggesting that would be left for courts to make public should the case ever go to trial.
Trudeau said Monday that Indian agents played a role in the June murder of Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, near Vancouver.
The fallout prompted a forceful denial from India, which said any suggestion it played a role in Nijjar's killing was "absurd."
India also stopped handling visa applications in Canada, blaming "security threats" which they said were "disrupting" the work of their officials and sought a reduction of Canadian diplomatic staff in India.
Trudeau insisted Thursday that his government "is not looking to provoke or cause problems" when asked why Canada's allies' reactions to the allegations appeared muted.
Western powers led by the United States have been courting India for years, seeing a natural ally in the billion-plus democracy as concerns mount about China.
"There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with," Trudeau said.
"But we are unequivocal around the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians," he emphasised.
Trudeau requested the Indian government's help, saying he merely wanted to ensure the safety of Canadians.
"We demand that the Indian government take this issue seriously and ensure that justice is served in this case. I'm going to keep working to keep Canadians secure."
He also said to have discussed his concerns with PM Modi in a "direct and frank" chat.
"We have an independent justice system and robust processes that will follow its course and we call upon the government of India to engage with us to move forward on getting to the truth of this matter," Trudeau had added.