The White House on Thursday sought to dispel a perception that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of an Indian hand in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada had driven a wedge between Washington and Ottawa, and that the US was giving India a “pass” for its “aggression”.
Caught in the middle of the India-Canada face-off, the US has been cautious in its response to Trudeau’s allegations against India while maintaining that the Canadian probe should be carried forward and New Delhi should cooperate with Ottawa over it.
Briefing the media, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan on his own brought up the perception that the controversy had caused a rift between Washington and Ottawa, which otherwise enjoy a unique relationship given their shared geography, values, interests and multi-layered economic ties. “I have seen in the press some efforts to try to drive a wedge between the United States and Canada on this issue. And I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the US and Canada,” he said.
“We have deep concerns about the allegations, and we would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account. That is what the United States has stood for from the moment this emerged in public, and we will continue to stand for that until this fully plays its way out.”
Asked about the leeway that the Biden administration had given to both India and China for their aggressions and whether this controversy would strain the ties between New Delhi and Washington, Sullivan said: “It is a matter of concern for us. It is something we take seriously. It’s something we will keep working on, and we will do that regardless of the country.”
He added: “There is not some special exemption you get for actions like this. Regardless of the country, we will stand up and defend our basic principles. And we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process.”
Public Safety Canada — an umbrella body of agencies and departments responsible for the safety of Canadians — on Thursday condemned the hate speeches against Hindu Canadians.
“There is no place in Canada for hate. The circulation of an online video in which Hindu Canadians are told to leave Canada is offensive and hateful, and is an affront to all Canadians and the values we hold dearly,” it said in a post on X.
“Acts of aggression, hate, intimidation or incitement of fear have no place in this country and only serve to divide us. We urge all Canadians to respect one another and follow the rule of law. Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities.”