Amid the diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, the Biden Administration has engaged with the Indian government on a number of occasions urging them to cooperate with Canada in its investigations into the death of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a US State Department official has said.
The issue was raised by Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar here last week. “As he made clear then, I’ll reiterate now, we remain in close coordination with our Canadian colleagues on this question,” US State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller told reporters at his daily news conference.
“We have engaged with the Indian government on a number of occasions to urge them to cooperate with Canada’s investigation. The secretary had an opportunity to do that in his meeting with the foreign minister on Friday,” he said.
When asked if India has agreed to cooperate with Canada, Miller said this is for New Delhi to respond to. “I will let the Indian government speak for themselves and I will speak for the United States government, and we urge that cooperation,” he said.
India wants to see proof: Jaishankar to Trudeau
While speaking at Hudson University earlier last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar underscored that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had initially levelled allegations privately and then publically from the House of Commons and added India too replied to the allegations in the same manner.
Notably, Trudeau, while addressing the Canadian Parliament last week, alleged that Indian agents were involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In fact, Trudeau claimed Ottawa has "credible inputs" about New Delhi's involvement in the killing. Further, he reiterated that if Ottawa had any proof or specific information, New Delhi was very keen to look into it.
"If he (PM Trudeau) had, or his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. Now, that's where that conversation is at this point in time," stressed Jaishankar.
Jaishankar raises concerns over threats posed by Khalistani
Further, he opened up about the visa suspension during the conversation where he stressed that Ottawa has become a hub for organised crime from India and added this has now mixed with human trafficking, secessionism, violence and terrorism.
Jaishankar further underscored that Canada has allowed extremists who were involved in anti-India activities. Notably, his comments came in the backdrop of recent death threats given by Khalistani terrorists to Indian diplomats in Ottawa.
"For us, it has certainly been a country where, organized crime from India, mixed with trafficking in people, mixed with secessionism, violence, terrorism. It's a very toxic combination of issues and people, who have found operating space there... Today, I'm actually in a situation where my diplomats are unsafe going to the embassy, or to the consulate in Canada. They are publicly intimidated. And that has actually compelled me to temporarily suspend even visa operations in Canada," he said.