Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that his country had shared with New Delhi the “credible allegation” that Indian agents may have been linked to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader several weeks ago, ANI reported.
“In regards to India, Canada has shared the credible allegations with India. We did that many weeks ago,” he told reporters. “We are there to work constructively with India and we hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter.”
On Monday, Trudeau had told the country’s Parliament that security agencies “have been pursuing credible allegations about the potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen” who supported the creation of a separate state for Sikhs.
His comments pertained to Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force. He had been shot dead in the parking lot of a gurdwara in Surrey near Vancouver on June 18.
Unidentified sources have told CBC News that Canada has gathered intelligence, including communications between Indian officials, about Nijjar’s killing. The CBC report also claimed that “when pressed behind closed doors”, Indian officials have not denied that there is evidence to link New Delhi to the killing.
Separately, an unidentified Canadian government official told a similar version to the Associated Press. Both the news agencies reported that one of the countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance provided inputs to Canada. The alliance includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
On Thursday, New Delhi also called Canada a “safe haven” for terrorists and suspended visa services in the country. Canada, on its part, has said it will downsize its diplomatic staff in India “out of an abundance of caution”.
Deeply concerned about allegations: US secretary of state
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the country is “deeply concerned” about Trudeau’s allegation, and urged India to cooperate with the investigation.
“From our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceed, and it would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation,” he said. “We want to see accountability, and it’s important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result.”
The secretary of state added: “...We are extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, something we take very, very seriously. And I think it’s important more broadly for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so.”