New Delhi: The diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of a Sikh separatist activist has drawn the attention of the United States. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his concern over the allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that India was involved in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and a supporter of Khalistan, a proposed independent Sikh state in India’s Punjab region.
Blinken said that the US was in close contact with Canada on this issue and urged India to cooperate fully with the Canadian investigation. He said that the US was “extremely concerned” about Trudeau’s claim that he had “credible evidence” linking “agents of the government of India” to Nijjar’s murder.
Nijjar was shot dead by masked gunmen outside his Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18. He was a prominent leader of the Khalistan movement and had organized an unofficial referendum among the Sikh diaspora in Canada. He was also accused by India of being involved in a 2007 bombing in Punjab that killed six people and injured 42 others. India had sought his extradition from Canada, but Canada had refused to act on India’s request.
Trudeau said on Friday that he had shared the evidence with the Indian government a few weeks ago and hoped that they would join Canada in finding out the truth behind this “very serious matter”. However, he did not reveal what the evidence was. According to a report by CBC, a Canadian news outlet, Canada had intercepted phone calls of Indian agents and tracked their meetings and conversations with Indian diplomats.
India rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd and motivated” and accused Canada of harboring terrorists and interfering in India’s internal affairs. India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat from the country, following Canada’s expulsion of an Indian diplomat, whom Canada identified as the head of the Indian intelligence agency in Canada.
The dispute has escalated to an unprecedented level and threatened to damage the relations between two important partners of the US. The world is now watching how India will respond to this situation and whether it will agree to participate in the Canadian investigation or not.