New Delhi, September 25
Voicing concern over the measures taken by India, including the suspension of visa services for Canadians, its Defence Minister Bill Blair has asked India to cooperate fully in the probe into Sikh terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing.
Updates travel advisory
Canada has updated travel advisory for its citizens in India, asking them to “stay vigilant and exercise caution” in the context of recent developments.
Ottawa’s relationship with India is “important” but to get to the truth, New Delhi needs to join the probe, said Blair, who gave interviews to the Canadian media on Sunday.
India has strongly rejected the charges as “absurd” and “motivated”, and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat after Ottawa did the same to an Indian official. India has also suspended the issuance of visas from Canada but permitted travel on the existing OCIcards and visas to continue. “We received and believe we have very credible intelligence that causes us to be deeply concerned and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have now initiated an investigation,” Blair said in an interview during which he did not reveal at what stage the case had progressed or if the Canadian intelligence possessed a smoking gun. The Canadian Opposition has already asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to come clean on the evidence into a potential link between the murder and the Indian Government.
We received and believe we have very credible intelligence that causes us to be deeply concerned. — Bill Blair, Canadian Defence Ninister
Asked about the measures adopted by India, Blair said, “I am concerned about the measures that they’re taking because we have a very significant (and) important Indo-Canadian population in this country, people who are connected to family and through business and other relationships to India.”
But the Indian Government cooperation is necessary to “know the truth and have the facts and then we can work together to resolve it in an appropriate way”.
In another interview, he said, “We understand that this can be, and has proven to be, a challenging issue with respect to our relationship with India... But at the same time, we have a responsibility to defend the law, defend our citizens, and at the same time make sure that we conduct a thorough investigation and get to the truth.”
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