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It's critical that Canada's investigation proceeds, perpetrators brought to justice: US on Khalistan row

Days after Trudeau's allegations, the US had said that it supports Canada’s efforts to investigate allegations of India's involvement in the killing of Nijjar.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Washington Published on: September 26, 2023 9:54 IST
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller
Image Source : US DEPARTMENT OF STATE US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller

As India-Canada relations sour over Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing, the United States on Monday (local time) said that its critical that Ottawa's investigation in the murder proceeds and the perpetrators are brought to justice.

In a press briefing, US Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller said, " We believe it’s critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and that the perpetrators be brought to justice. And we have publicly – and privately – urged the Indian Government to cooperate in the Canadian investigation."

He reiterated that the US is "deeply concerned" by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations made last week of "credible evidence" of the Indian government's role behind Nijjar's killing in British Columbia on June 18. "We remain in close contact with our Canadian partners," Miller added.

Meanwhile, US Representative Jim Costa on Monday said on social platform X that he has requested an official briefing at the House Foreign Affairs Committee to investigate Nijjar's murder. "I am very concerned about reports that Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Niijar was assassinated, and I have requested an official briefing as a member of the House Foreign Affairs committee. We must fully investigate this crime to determine who should be held accountable," he said.

US stance on India-Canada row

The US on Thursday said that it supports Canada’s efforts to investigate allegations of India's involvement in the killing of Nijjar. It observed that no country can get any “special exemption” for such activities.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that America is “deeply concerned” about the allegations raised by Trudeau in the Parliament and that the US wants to see accountability and it is “important” that India work with the Canadians on the investigation.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations that Canadian PM Trudeau has raised. We have been consulting very closely with our Canadian colleagues, and coordinating with them on this issue. From our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceeds,” Blinken said at a press conference.

India-Canada tensions

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.

ALSO READ | Terrorists found 'safe haven' in Canada, we support India's 'strong' response: Sri Lanka

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