‘Motivated and absurd’: India slams Canada’s accusations over terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing

India’s foreign ministry on the morning of September 19 slammed Canadian government’s purported accusations linking Indian envoy in Canada with Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing, marking a unique low in India-Canada ties who have historically shared friendly ties. 

Trudeau’s government subsequently ordered Indian envoy in Ottawa to leave the country. A similar reciprocation for Canadian envoy in New Delhi is expected as India’s foreign ministry termed the Canadian accusations as “absurd and motivated”.

“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” India’s foreign ministry said.

“Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister, and were completely rejected,” the Indian foreign ministry added. Canadian PM Trudeau told his country’s parliament that he had taken up the purported matter of alleged Indian hand in Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing “directly” with his Indian counterpart during the G20 summit in Delhi earlier this month.

Khalistani terrorists are sheltered by Canada: India’s foreign ministry

India’s foreign ministry said that the country is a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law.

“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it added. 

A number of individuals designated as terrorists by India’s National Investigative Agency continue to call for India’s break-up in Canada. Since 2020, self-proclaimed “referendums” that call for break-up of Indian state of Punjab from the Union of India have been occurring despite India’s asserting strong diplomatic offences. 

“The inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern,” India’s foreign ministry said.

Harjit Sajjan, a minister in Justin Trudeau’s government, has expressed implicit support for the denounced cause of a Sikh homeland in the form of separate Khalistan. His parents are reported associated with the World Sikh Organisation, a Sikh advocacy group which supports the Khalistani movement.

“That Canadian political figures have openly expressed sympathy for such elements remains a matter of deep concern,” India’s foreign ministry said.

“The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities including murders, human trafficking and organised crime is not new. We reject any attempts to connect Government of India to such developments. We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil.”

In past, while reacting to the visuals of a parade that showed former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards, India’s foreign minister Dr S. Jaishankar had pointed to the purported compulsions of “vote bank politics” in Canada.

Ulta Chor Kotwal ko Dantey” (Pot calling the kettle black), External Affairs Minister Jaishankar had said in June over comments by Canadian National Security Advisor that India interferes in Canada’s domestic affairs.

Canada-India ties at new low: Washington’s reaction

The Biden administration also reacted to the latest unique lows in the India-Canada ties.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau earlier today,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding, “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

Washington faced a “no-win situation” with the latest unique low in India-Canada ties. By siding with Ottawa, it contradicted concerns raised by New Delhi over Canada’s support to Khalistan terrorists.

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