A day after a foreign media report claimed India asked Canada to minimise staff from its New Delhi-based embassy, the Canadian foreign minister refrained from commenting directly on the reports, but said Ottawa sought "private talks with India to resolve the ongoing diplomatic tensions".
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly asserted that the Canadian government were in close contact with its Indian counterparts and added PM Justin Trudeau-led government would like to engage "privately".
'"We are in contact with the Indian government. We take Canadian diplomats' safety very seriously and will continue to engage privately because we think diplomatic conversations are best when they remain private," she said.
Notably, the tension between the two nations soared tremendously following PM Trudeau's allegations against New Delhi where in he claimed Ottawa has "credible information" that Indian agents were involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on July 19.
However, the claims were outrightly rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs, where spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, dubbed the allegations "baseless" and "politically motivated".
Does India want parity?
While addressing the first press briefing following Trudeau's explosive allegations, Bagchi had said that India wanted "parity" in diplomatic staff citing the fact Canada has accommodated excess staff in its South Block embassy.
A report published in the Financial Times on Tuesday claimed India allegedly asked Canada to withdraw its 41 diplomats from New Delhi and if it fails, India would not provide security to the Canadian diplomats-- a claim that neither of the concerned countries have acknowledged publically nor privately. When India TV approached on the same day, the MEA declined to comment on the report whether it has ordered any such orders against Ottawa.
Trudeau's reaction to India's seeking parity
Meanwhile, Trudeau on Tuesday said that he is "not looking to escalate" the tensions with New Delhi and wants to have constructive relations. "We're not looking to escalate, as I've said, we're going to be doing the work that matters in continuing to have constructive relations with India through this extremely difficult time," CBC News quoted Trudeau as saying. The Canadian PM also acknowledged that Ottawa was going through an "extremely challenging time" with New Delhi.
He further said that the dispute between both countries has made it "important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government there to support Canadians and Canadian families." Trudeau asserted that his government was taking the matter extremely seriously and would attempt to engage "responsibly and constructively" with India.