US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said that “serious allegations” were levelled by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against India in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar adding that the US wanted the matter to be handled in a “transparent” way. In an interview with CBS News, an American television news channel, Kirby urged India to cooperate in the investigation.
This comes amid growing tensions between India, and Canada after Justin Trudeau on Monday accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Najjar, who was a designated terrorist in India was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
"These allegations are serious and we know that Canadians are investigating and we certainly don't want to get ahead of that investigation. We urge India to cooperate in that investigation as well,” Kirby said.
Perpetrators should be brought to justice: US Ambassador to India
Earlier today, US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti said that perpetrators should be brought to justice and that there should be a space for investigation before a judgement is made. Speaking at Ananta Centre in New Delhi in a conversation with senior journalist Indrani Bagchi, Garcetti said, "Those who are responsible must be held accountable. We hope that traditional friends and partners will cooperate in getting to the bottom of it."
He said, "We care deeply for Canada just as we care deeply for India. And I think that moments like this don't define our relationship. But they certainly can slow down progress. And they're gut checks for everybody to say how do we interact with each other? What do we stand for? How do we enforce ideas like sovereignty and international law? And what are our responsibilities to one another? And I'm sure somebody's going to ask that question."
"So let me just kind of say more of a statement that obviously any allegations like this should be troubling to anyone. But with an active criminal investigation, I hope that we can make sure that perpetrators are brought to justice and that we can all allow the space for that information and that investigation to occur before anybody leaps to judgment. And to me, that's the most important role. I think to each one of us sovereignty is a very important principle," he added.
Story so far
Weeks before Canada made this explosive allegation implicating Indian officials in the killing of Khalistan Tiger Force Chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canadian officials sought public condemnation of the murder from their allies, including the United States, but were met with reluctance, The Washington Post reported. Nijjar had been designated a terrorist by Indian security agencies in 2020 and was accused of supporting attacks in Punjab, the report noted, adding that India sought his extradition in 2022 and linked him to the killing of a Hindu priest in Punjab that same year. Appealing for a fair and transparent probe into the matter, Kirby said that the US will remain in touch with both India and Canada.
“This is kind of an attack that we obviously want to know that it will be handled in a transparent way and that Canadian people can get answers. We are going to stay in touch with our partners - both countries. We want to see the investigation be able to pursue unhindered and let the facts take it where it may,” the retired US Navy rear admiral said in the CBS News interview. World leaders have been reacting to the India-Canada diplomatic standoff.
What Australian PM says
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said that Canberra doesn’t talk about security briefings as part of the Five Eyes group, an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK. On being asked if the Australian government has received a security briefing about the alleged assassination, PM Albanese said, “We don't talk about security briefings from Five Eyes (intelligence alliance), as part of the Five Eyes group." He further said that he has had discussions with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau, but would like to keep those discussions ‘confidential’.
On the other hand, the UK government is also in regular contact with its Canadian partners over allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament. Foreign Secretary of the UK, James Cleverly, on Tuesday said that all countries should respect sovereignty. "All countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. We are in regular contact with our Canadian partners about serious allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament," Cleverly posted on X.
(With inputs from ANI)