Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said on Thursday that it is “important” that India engage with Canada’s investigation into the involvement of ‘Indian agents’ in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. She also said New Delhi’s decision to remove 41 Canadian diplomats from the country was “unacceptable”.
Her comments came against the backdrop of the US Justice Department’s charges against an Indian national in an alleged murder plot against Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US.
The Canadian Minister said, “I have had numerous conversations with my American colleagues, Secretary Blinken, on the issues we are facing with India. At the same time, we call on India to engage in our own investigation, and I think it is important that they do so.”
She also said that the country stands by the “credible allegations” against India.
“I respect the Indian Prime Minister and their legal system, but I can tell you that we stand by our credible allegations that there was a killing of a Canadian on Canadian soil linked to Indian agents,” Joly said.
The minister also mentioned that she is in contact with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the issue.
Specifically asked if India has ever cooperated with the Canadian probe, she said, “We call on their cooperation to make sure that our investigation is able to proceed.”
Commenting on India’s decision to ask Canada to withdraw its diplomats, Joly said the move was “unacceptable.”
“I think that the impact of making public our allegations and the fact that they decided to remove 41 of our diplomats were completely unacceptable,” she said.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries deteriorated recently after Trudeau alleged the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen who was shot dead by two masked gunmen on June 18 in British Columbia.
However, India responded firmly, dismissing the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated.” In the following days, India asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in India, following which Ottawa pulled out 41 diplomats from India.
On Wednesday, the US Justice Department charged a 52-year-old Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, with involvement in an alleged murder plot against Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
India on Thursday said that the US charge is a “matter of concern” and “contrary to government policy” and also formed a high-level committee to probe the allegations.