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Did envoy Garcetti ask his team to reduce contact with India over Canada row? US refutes reports

Earlier, a media report claimed that US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti informed his in-country team that relations between New Delhi and Ottawa could get worse for a time and the US may need to reduce its contacts with Indian officials.

Reported By : Vijai Laxmi Written By : Ajeet Kumar
New Delhi
Updated on: October 05, 2023 16:07 IST
US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti with Prime Minister
Image Source : TWITTER/@USAMBINDIA US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The United States has rejected the American media report wherein it was claimed that US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti informed his in-country team that relations between New Delhi and Ottawa could get worse for a time and the US may need to reduce its contacts with Indian officials for an undefined period of time.

However, a State Department spokesperson, made it clear that the USA’s relationship with India is an important, strategic, and consequential partnership and underscored that Garcetti has been working hard to deepen the relations between the two democracies. "Ambassador Garcetti is working hard every day to deepen the partnership between the people and governments of the United States and India. As his personal engagement and public schedule demonstrate, Ambassador Garcetti and the US Mission to India are working every day to advance the important, strategic, and consequential partnership we have with India," stressed the spokesperson.

The statement from the US Embassy came nearly two days after a report by US media outlet, Politico, claimed that the "Biden administration has been notably quiet as tensions escalate between India and Canada following the murder of a Khalistani terrorist in British Columbia. Don’t expect more noise from the White House anytime soon." The report also claimed that the US Ambassador to India asked his team members to refrain from contacting Indian officials as a measure to balance diplomatic relations with both New Delhi and Ottawa. 

India-Canada tensions

Notably, the tension between the two nations soared tremendously following Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's allegations against New Delhi where in he claimed Ottawa has "credible information" that Indian agents were involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on July 19. However, the claims were outrightly rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs, where spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, dubbed the allegations "baseless" and "politically motivated".

It is worth mentioning for the US, both India and Canada are close allies and it is obvious that the Pentagon would not take the risk of irking either of its allies. Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who had a week-long trip to the US, met with his American counterpart Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan in New York, where the top diplomats discussed the issue of Canada. 

US says it wants investigation into Trudeau's 'serious' allegations 

Although the Biden administration did not condemn Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations nor did it subscribe to his personal attack on New Delhi, the top US officials termed the allegations "serious" and asked India to cooperate in the investigations.

Recently, in a press conference, John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, commented positively in favour of India and underscored that it would certainly leave it to both countries to talk about their bilateral relationship. “We've been clear, these allegations are serious, they need to be fully investigated and of course, as we've said before, we urge India to participate actively in that investigation,” Kirby said.

Trudeau says he does not want to escalate the matter

Meanwhile, Trudeau on Tuesday said that he is "not looking to escalate" the tensions with New Delhi and wants to have constructive relations. "We're not looking to escalate, as I've said, we're going to be doing the work that matters in continuing to have constructive relations with India through this extremely difficult time," CBC News quoted Trudeau as saying. The Canadian PM also acknowledged that Ottawa was going through an "extremely challenging time" with New Delhi.

He further said that the dispute between both countries has made it "important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government there to support Canadians and Canadian families." Trudeau asserted that his government was taking the matter extremely seriously and would attempt to engage "responsibly and constructively" with India.

Also Read: Terrorists given space in Canada due to political compulsion: S Jaishankar attacks Trudeau

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