A US statement after a meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made no mention of the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, even though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was sure Washington DC would raise the matter.
Jaishankar met Blinken on Thursday evening amid a diplomatic crisis between India and Canada that erupted after Trudeau told his country’s parliament that its intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” tying Indian agents to Nijjar’s killing.
On Thursday, responding to a question on whether Blinken would bring up the case with Jaishankar, Trudeau said: “Yes, the Americans have been with us in speaking to the Indian government about how important it is that they be involved in the credible allegations that agents of the Indian government killed a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil...The Americans will certainly discuss these challenges with the Indian government.”
However, after the meeting between Blinken and Jaishankar, a statement by United States spokesperson Matthew Miller made no mention of the case. He said that the two discussed key outcomes of India’s G20 presidency and the creation of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.
“The Secretary and the External Affairs Minister also emphasised the continued importance of cooperation ahead of the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, in particular in the areas of defense, space, and clean energy,” Miller said. The 2+2 Dialogue is a format in which the foreign and defence ministers of India and the United States hold meetings.
Blinken thanked Jaishankar for hosting US President Joe Biden in India earlier this month during the G20 summit. His statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, also did not mention Nijjar’s killing.
Jaishankar said that the two held a wide-ranging discussion, following up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June.
‘Canada serious about building closer ties with India’: Trudeau
On Thursday, Trudeau said in Montreal it was extremely important that Canada and its allies continue to engage “constructively and seriously” with India.
“India is a growing economic power and important geopolitical player,” the Canadian prime minister said. “And...we’re very serious about building closer ties with India. At the same time, obviously, as a rule of law country, we need to emphasise that India needs to work with Canada to ensure that we get the full facts of this matter.”
India, on its part, has called Trudeau’s allegations “absurd” and indefinitely suspended visa services in Canada last week citing security threats to its officials. New Delhi also said that Ottawa needed to look into its growing reputation as a “safe haven” to terrorists, extremists and those involved in organised crime.
Referring to Nijjar’s case on Tuesday, Jaishankar said that Canada was informed that such acts are not the Indian government’s policy.
“We told the Canadians that look, if you have something specific, if you have something relevant, let us know. We are open to looking at it,” he said at a discussion in New York.