India has told Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomats from the country, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Ottawa has been told by New Delhi that it must repatriate roughly 40 diplomats by Oct. 10, the report said, citing people familiar with the demand, reports Reuters.
Tensions flared between India and Canada following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's explosive allegations of the "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar on his country's soil. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
India angrily rejected the allegations as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official over the case.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said India and Canada should talk to each other to resolve their differences over the death of a Khalistani separatist, but the larger issue of the Canadian government's "permissiveness" to terrorism, extremism and violence must be flagged and addressed.
During an interaction with Indian journalists in Washington last week, he said India was ready to look into the information related to Canada's allegations of the "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18 in British Columbia.
“The issue is as follows, which is that the Canadians have made some allegations. We have pointed out to them that this is not the government of India's policy, but if they are prepared to share with us specifics and anything relevant, we are also open to looking at it. So in that sense, that's where the matter stands,” Jaishankar said, according to a PTI report.
“But what we do not want to see is an incident treated in isolation because then that somewhere does not convey the right picture," he said.
He said he discussed the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. “Most important, the fact that our diplomatic missions and our diplomatic personnel have been consistently and continuously intimidated in Canada to a point where today it is not safe for them really to carry on with their work.
The US government has indicated it wants the issue resolved by the two countires. “We are very concerned about the allegations that have been raised by Canada, by Prime Minister Trudeau," Blinken told reporters at an event.
"We have been in close contact with Canada about that. And at the same time, we have engaged with the Indian government and urged them to work with Canada on an investigation, and I had the opportunity to do so again in my meeting yesterday with Foreign Minister Jaishankar,” Blinken said.