Amid the diplomatic tussle between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani terrorist, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Thursday. Although there have been no official words on the agenda of the meeting, the latest diplomatic crisis between two of America’s allies, India and Canada, is anticipated to be a prominent topic of discussion between the two top leaders.
Canada issue likely to be agenda of talks
“I don’t want to preview the conversations he (Blinken) will have in that meeting (with Jaishankar), but as we have made clear, we’ve raised this; we have engaged with our Indian counterparts on this and encouraged them to cooperate with the Canadian investigation. We will also continue to encourage them to cooperate,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.
Canada's claim on Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Although the two senior diplomats' meeting was planned much before the Canadian situation arose, the US has been urging India to assist in the Canadian inquiry into the killing of "Sikh separatist" Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia earlier this year. Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, has claimed that 45-year-old Nijjar was murdered on June 18 in Surrey, British Columbia, outside a gurdwara. Notably, Nijjar was designated as a terrorist by India in 2020.
India has rejected the accusation as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in retaliation to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official. Further, India has also asked Canada to take stronger action against terrorists and anti-Indian groups operating from its territory and suspended visa services for Canadians.
Jaishankar's itinerary for US
Jaishankar arrived in the American capital from New York after attending the annual General Assembly meetings of the United Nations on Tuesday. In addition to his meeting with Blinken, the External Affairs Minister is expected to have a series of meetings with senior officials of the Biden administration, review the progress made between the two countries after the historic State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and talk about other regional and global issues. The minister is also expected to engage with the diaspora, think-tank community and interact with leaders from the corporate sector.
(With PTI inputs)