New Delhi, November 30
Fishing in troubled waters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said indictment of an Indian national in the US court in a thwarted assassination attempt against a Sikh separatist in New York has underscored what Canada has been alleging in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Editorial: Trudeau’s hollow talk
“The news coming out of the US further underscores what we’ve been talking about from beginning, which is that India needs to take this seriously. The Indian Government needs to work with us to ensure that we’re getting to the bottom of this,” said Trudeau.
Canada giving space to anti-India elements
Canada has consistently given space to anti-India extremists and violence. This is actually at the heart of the issue. Our diplomatic representatives in Canada have borne the brunt of this. — Arindam Bagchi, MEA Spokesperson
Trudeau made the remarks after the US Department of Justice on Friday charged one Nikhil Gupta, 52, with murder-for-hire in connection with his participation in an alleged foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen widely believed to be Gurpatwant Singh Pannu.
“This is not something that anyone can take lightly. Our responsibility is to keep Canadians safe,” said Trudeau, adding that Ottawa had been working closely with the US since August on alleged Indian Government involvement in Nijjar’s killing on June 18 in British Columbia province.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) hit back by pointing out that the main issue with Ottawa had been its sheltering of anti-India elements. “We have said Canada has consistently given space to anti-India extremists and violence. That is actually at the heart of the issue. Our diplomatic representatives in Canada have borne the brunt of this,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing here on Thursday. “We expect the government of Canada to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We have also seen interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs, he noted. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie while interacting with the media did not comment on the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) filing in a district court. But she said it was her goal to make sure the 41 diplomats ejected by India were allowed back. Jolie also said she stood by “credible allegations” Indian agents were linked to Nijjar’s murder.
India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. Talking about the case filed in a US court, Bagchi said the government attached importance to the inputs from the US on “nexus between organised criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others’’ and maintained that the necessary follow-up action would be taken based on the findings of a “high-level’’ inquiry committee set up on November 18, but revealed in an MEA statement on November 29.
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