Sri Lanka has come out in support of India amid the latter's ongoing row with Canada, saying that terrorists have found "safe haven" in Ottawa and that Trudeau made "outrageous" allegations about India's role without providing any solid evidence.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, in an interview with news agency ANI, said that he was "not surprised" with Trudeau's "outrageous and unsubstantiated" allegations linking India's role behind the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
“Some of the terrorists have found safe haven in Canada. The Canadian PM has this way of just coming out with some outrageous allegations without any supporting proof. The same thing they did for Sri Lanka, a terrible, total lie about saying that Sri Lanka had a genocide. Everybody knows there was no genocide in our country," said the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister.
He also said that Trudeau's 'genocide' comment on Sri Lanka has negatively affected the relations between the two countries and asked the Canadian PM to refrain from interfering in the matters of a sovereign country.
"I don't think anyone should poke their nose into other countries and tell as to how we should govern our country. We love our country more than anyone else. That's why we are in our country... We have to look after our region. We need to work together. That's how we can create a peaceful environment. We should not be dictated by anyone else as to how we should conduct our affairs," he told ANI.
In May, Trudeau announced that the Canadian Parliament has marked May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, which was sharply rebuked by Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry for "politically-motivated statement for domestic political consumption".
We support India on this matter: Sri Lankan envoy
Meanwhile, outgoing Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India came out in India's defence in the matter, saying that Colombo supports New Delhi's "firm and direct" response to the Canadian PM's remarks.
In a press conference, Milinda Moragoda said, "I think India's response has been inequitable and also firm and direct. And I think as far as we are concerned, we support India on that. Having said that, also, in my lifetime now, I'm 60 years old, 40 years of my life, we have spent facing various forms of terrorism in Sri Lanka. I have lost many friends, and colleagues to terrorism."
He further said that the people of Sri Lanka have a zero tolerance for terrorist activities as its people have suffered to terrorism for a very long time.
Tensions between India and Canada reached a boiling point after Trudeau alleged India's role in the fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep S Nijjar, the chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). Nijar, a designated terrorist in India, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
India angrily rejected the Canadian PM's allegations as "absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to a similar move by Ottawa. India also temporarily suspended visa services for Canadian nationals in view of "security threats" and called for a reduction of Canadian diplomats in New Delhi.
India also advised all its nationals in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise "utmost caution" in view of growing anti-India activities and "politically-condoned" hate crimes. The diplomatic standoff between both countries has laid uncertainties over trade relations, as India and Canada recorded a burgeoning bilateral trade for the past few years.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) emphasised that Canada had become a "safe haven" for Khalistani terrorists and extremists and slammed Trudeau's remarks as "politically motivated". The recent tensions between the two countries have raised concerns over the safety of Hindu-Canadians, after a pro-Khalistani organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) released a video message recently warning Hindus living in Canada and asked them to leave the country as soon as possible.
(with ANI inputs)