United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (September 22) said that America is “deeply concerned” about the allegations raised by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding India’s involvement in the killing of a a Sikh separatist, designated as a terrorist in India, adding that it is critical that the investigation into the matter proceeds.
Blinken said that the US wants to see accountability and it is “important” that India work with the Canadians on the investigation.
Notably, tensions cropped up between India and Canada early this week after Trudeau alleged of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia on June 18. Nijjar was designated as a terrorist by India in 2020.
“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.
His remarks came after 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.
India had rejected the allegations by Trudeau calling them “absurd" and "motivated" and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to expulsion of an Indian official in Canada.
Blinken said that the US has engaged directly with the Indian government and “hoped” that India cooperates with the investigation.
“We have been engaged directly with the Indian government as well. The most productive thing that can happen now is to see this investigation move forward, be completed. We would hope that our Indian friends would cooperate with that investigation as well,” he said.
“We are extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, something we take very seriously and it's important for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so. It's something that we're also focused on in a much broader way,” the US official added.
Canada has yet not provided any public evidence to back its allegations against India, however, a media report claimed citing Canadian government sources that Ottawa's allegations are based on both human and signals intelligence and inputs from an ally the Five Eye intelligence network.
The Five Eyes network is an intelligence alliance consisting of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Trudeau on Thursday said that Canada is not looking to "provoke or cause problems" with India as he urged New Delhi to take the matter "extremely seriously".
India described Canada a “safe haven” for terrorists and extremists and asked the country to come down hard on anti-India elements operating from its soil. India also suspended visa services for Canadians.
(With PTI inputs)