'Deeply Concerned': US On Canadian PM Linking India To Khalistani Leader Nijjar's Killing

The United States has expressed “deep concern” after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the Indian government’s role in the killing of a pro-Khalistan separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The White House said that they are “concerned” about the allegations adding that they are in constant touch with their Canadian partners. Trudeau on Monday raised the issue in the Canadian parliament saying intelligence agencies are probing “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government agents and the killing of Khalistani leader Nijjar in June. He also ordered the expulsion of a top Indian diplomat in Canada.

“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.

“We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” Watson added.

Meanwhile, India has rejected the claims as ‘absurd and motivated’ and also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in response to Trudeau’s actions.


‘He Believed What He Was Talking About’

Reacting to the remarks made by Trudeau, Director of the South Asia Institute at Wilson Center, Michael Kugelman told ANI that the Canadian PM’s statement in public suggests “he believed what he was talking about”

“…Clearly, for PM of Canada to come out and speak before the House of Commons and make this allegation so publically in the way that he did, that would suggest that he feels he has very strong reasons to believe that what he is saying is accurate because would he really want to jeopardise such an important relationship with India. For me, the fact that he went public suggests a view that he believed what he was talking about…” he said.

“As I understand when Trudeau was in India and met with PM Modi, he brought up the assassination and his concerns about Indian involvement. It may have been that Trudeau thought he could deliver a strong message by going to India and meeting face-to-face with Modi and bringing these issues up. I understand that PM Modi also brought to Trudeau’s attention his concerns about what has been happening with Sikh leaders in Canada,” he added.

Focusing on the G20 meeting where Trudeau met with PM Modi, Kugelman said, “I think there could have been an incentive from Truedeau’s part to be in a position to meet face-to-face with Modi to warn him about these concerns…I think that Trudeau went to India to show Canada’s commitment to G20 and I think that when he was there, he felt he had the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with Modi, which apparently was quite tense, and convey his concerns. But we saw that he really did not have a very good visit in India, there were tensions in his meeting with Modi, he had problems with his aircraft, he was stranded there for a few days. It became a bit of a mess. But keep in mind that he did not go to India, simply to meet PM Modi. He went there to participate in the G20 Summit.”

Kugelman said that Canada’s expelling of an Indian diplomat has come after a “very dramatic allegation” that and is “very surprising”. “Something like this rarely happens. This is a key Western partner – a really big deal. These types of things do not happen so often. So, I was very surprised by this development,” he added.

A Senior Canadian Journalist, Tahir Aslam Gora called the development a “bombshell revelation”, adding that the Canadian PM has raised his concerns about China and Russia but never about India.

“…India is a well-wisher of Canada and Canada is a well-wisher of India too, except for some Khalistani activities here and there. India and Canada always had good relations. The Canadian PM has raised his concerns about China and Russia but never about India, but such a bombshell revelation by him is extremely shocking. Canadians too are in shock and we always wanted the investigation to be completed to know the facts…”

“We still have this question, how has the investigation been completed in just 3 months and how can PM Trudeau make such a statement in the Parliament? This is an issue for the Indian diaspora and everyone is in shock and afraid of the situation. It is a very sad situation. The revelation by PM Trudeau is absolutely shocking,” he added.

Questioning the timing of the development, Gora said, “Canadian PM Justin Trudeau made a statement in Parliament that an Indian hand in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. What does this timing indicate? PM Trudeau has just returned from India and there were several controversial reports running in Indian and Canadian media. This revelation could have been made earlier or maybe later, after the investigation was completed. In the Parliament, PM Trudeau also said that he had talks regarding this with PM Modi while he was in India…”

Canada-based professor of Carleton University and foreign policy expert Vivek Dehejia said the “unexpected” announcement left him “flabbergasted and shocked”.

“When I saw this news, it was literally a bombshell thrown by Mr Trudeau on the first day of the Parliamentary session in Canada. It was unexpected…Trudeau went to the G20 and we know all of the awkwardness that happened there. Something is peculiar about the timing of this announcement. The allegations are unproven…At this point, we are sort of in the deep freeze of the Arctic Tundra or as I said in a column I have just written – we are on the lunar surface of Mars in terms of the state of the bilateral relationship,” he said.

US-based senior Defence Analyst Derek J. Grossman said Canada’s allegations “could be most significant test of strength of US-India partnership since early 2000s”

“Canada’s bombshell accusation today against India could be most significant test of strength of US-India partnership since early 2000s. That said, US will pull out all the stops to keep India close by its side to help counter China, which could mean staying out of this mess,” the National security and Indo-Pacific analyst at RAND Corporation, an American nonprofit global policy think tank, said in a post on X.

ALSO READ | India Rejects Canadian PM Trudeau’s Allegations As ‘Absurd And Motivated’, Expels Senior Diplomat

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