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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

US urges India to cooperate with Canada’s probe into killing of Khalistani terrorist

Given that India is central to the West’s — particularly G7’s — efforts to contain China, Trudeau’s allegations against the Narendra Modi government might have put western capitals in a spot

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 21.09.23, 05:57 AM
PM Justin Trudeau.

PM Justin Trudeau. File Photo

The US on Tuesday urged India to cooperate with Canada on the investigation into the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, joining western capitals in adopting a cautious approach to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation of Indian government involvement in the murder.

At least four western capitals — Washington, London, Canberra and Ottawa — have been accused by India in the past of allowing Khalistani separatists a free run. Of the four, India sees Canada as the biggest culprit, more so under Trudeau as his government is in alliance with a party headed by an open Khalistani sympathiser.

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Given that India is central to the West’s — particularly G7’s — efforts to contain China, Trudeau’s allegations against the Narendra Modi government might have put western capitals in a spot.

In an interview to CNN, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby sidestepped questions on Trudeau’s briefing to President Joe Biden and the details on which the Canadian Prime Minister had based his contention.

“There’s an active investigation. We think it needs to be fully transparent, comprehensive. We know that the Canadians have worked to that end. Again, we urge India to cooperate with that investigation so that the facts can take the investigators where they go,” Kirby said.

Asked about the intelligence, he said it is for Canada “to talk about the underpinning information”.

On Biden’s response, all he would say was: “Certainly, the President is mindful of these serious allegations and they are very serious. We support Canada’s efforts to investigate this. We believe a fully transparent, comprehensive investigation is the right approach so that we can all know exactly what happened and, of course, we encourage India to cooperate with that.”

After dropping the bombshell in the Canadian House of Commons on Monday, Trudeau on Tuesday said his intent in making the public charge against India was not to provoke or escalate.

“The Government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate. We are simply laying out the facts as we understand them, and we want to work with the Government of India to lay everything clear and to ensure that there is proper cooperation,” he told the media in response to questions on India denying the allegations made by him.

As for the timing of the disclosure — a week after he returned from India where he was given an earful for Khalistani activities in Canada and three months after the killing — Trudeau indicated that this was work in progress.

“Over the course of the summer, we have been working closely with our intelligence agencies. Moving forward in their analysis we wanted to make sure that we had a solid grounding in understanding what was going on in analysis. In fact, we wanted to make sure we were taking the time to talk with our allies to share what we knew. We wanted to make sure that we fully shared with the Government of India the seriousness and the depths of our preoccupations and indeed conclusions. But Canadians have a right to know and a need to know when things are going on like this, and that’s why we made the decision to do this.”

India on Wednesday issued a travel advisory to all its nationals and students in Canada urging them to exercise utmost caution in view of “growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes”. The advisory recalls that Indian diplomats in Canada have been threatened in recent months. These direct threats to the diplomats — with posters bearing their pictures — began after the murder of Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

While there was no other word from the government on the matter, national security adviser Ajit Doval met Union home minister Amit Shah in Parliament House during the day to discuss the situation with Canada.

Show scrapped

Canadian-Punjabi rapper Shubhneet Singh’s “Still Rollin Tour for India” has been cancelled. Mumbai had seen protests against his show even before Trudeau levelled the allegations against the government. Singh is allegedly a Khalistani sympathiser.

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