The diplomatic row after the Canadian Prime Minister publicly accused the Indian government of having a hand in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada came up in external affairs minister S. Jaishankar’s conversations with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and secretary of state Antony Blinken on Thursday.
This was confirmed by Jaishankar himself in his interactive session at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute on Friday when asked if the matter was discussed in his conversations with the Biden administration and how it was affecting bilateral relations considering the US has “one of the closest and most extensive” ties with Canada.
Neither the US state department readout on the conversation between Jaishankar and Blinken nor the minister’s post on X mentioned India’s face-off with Canada as among the subjects discussed.
About the discussion on Canada with Sullivan and Blinken, Jaishankar said: “They obviously shared US views and assessments on this whole situation. And, I explained to them in great detail India’s concerns. Hopefully, we both came out of those meetings better informed.”
Earlier, Jaishankar said the conversation with Canada has not moved beyond the allegation levelled in private and public, and India’s response. “The Canadian PM made some allegations — initially privately, and then publicly. Our response to him, both in private and public, was that what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy and that if his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. That’s where that conversation is at this point of time.”
Jaishankar stressed the importance of understanding the background. “To understand that conversation you have to also appreciate that this has been an issue of great friction for many years with Canada; in fact going back to the 1980s. Then it became dormant but in the last few years it has come back very much into play because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists….’’