The White House is “deeply concerned” about accusations of potential Indian involvement in the murder of a Sikh leader in Canada and wants the Asian country to cooperate in any probe, national security spokesman John Kirby said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had earlier this week made a startling announcement that domestic intelligence agencies were actively investigating ‘credible allegations’ linking agents from New Delhi to the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.
“We are deeply concerned…We encourage India to fully cooperate,” Kirby said.
This comes amid worsening diplomatic ties between India and Canada and after reports of non-cordial talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Canadian counterpart during G20 Summit, where Modi conveyed to Trudeau India’s concerns about elements carrying anti-India activities in Canada.
The political developments had also led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed the House of Commons that his government had “credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil in June.
In response to Trudeau’s accusations, both India and Canada have expelled a senior diplomat from each other’s countries. India denied the allegations, labeling them as “absurd” and “motivated.”
Nijjar, aged 45, was the leader of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). He was assassinated outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18. Nijjar had Rs10 lakh cash reward on his head.
Recent developments have led to India issuing a travel advisory for its citizens in Canada, following Canada’s own advisory update for India. India’s advisory raised concerns about the increasing anti-India activities and “politically condoned hate crimes” in Canada, urging Indian nationals in Canada and those planning to travel there to exercise caution.
The Canadian government, however, rejected India’s travel advisory, asserting that Canada is one of the safest countries in the world.
In the midst of this diplomatic standoff, the Punjab Police has initiated a statewide crackdown on associates of gangster Goldy Brar, who is accused of the murder of singer Sidhu Moosewala.