Jaishankar says evidence needed from Canada before starting Hardeep Nijjar killing probe

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  • Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said that India is not ruling out the scope of a probe into Canada’s allegations but Canada needs to provide evidence to back its claims. 
  • He emphasized that Canada has not shared any evidence with India to support its allegations. 
  • The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Justin Trudeau’s allegations of a ‘potential’ involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatists. 
  • India has rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”. 
  • Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said India has conveyed to the US side its serious concerns over increasing activities of pro-Khalistani elements in Canada. 

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said that India is not ruling out the scope of a probe into Canada’s allegations about the involvement of the Indian government’s agents in the killing of a Khalistani separatist in that country However, he also added that Canada needs to provide evidence to back its claims.

His statement came in response to questions during a conversation with veteran journalist Lionel Barber titled ‘How a Billion People See the World’. “If you have a reason to make such an allegation please share the evidence because we are not ruling out an investigation…,” Jaishankar, who is here on a five-day official visit to the UK, said while responding to a question.

He emphasized that Canada has not shared any evidence with India to support its allegations. The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in September of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18 in British Columbia. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

India has rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”. Jaishankar said that freedom of speech and freedom of expression comes with a certain responsibility and the misuse of those freedoms and the toleration of that misuse for political purposes would be very wrong, referring to the pro-Khalistani activities in Canada.

Jaishankar said that he was in touch with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly on the issue.

He recalled the attacks on the High Commission of India in Canada, or smoke bomb attacks on the High Commission and Consulate General, and said Indian diplomats were intimidated in public, with no action from the Canadian authorities against culprits.

Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau underlined that a “fight” with India was not something Canada wanted to be having right now but reiterated his allegations and said Ottawa wants to “work constructively” with New Delhi on this “very serious matter”.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said India has conveyed to the US side its serious concerns over increasing activities of pro-Khalistani elements in Canada.

Days after Trudeau’s allegations in September, India temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity. India resumed some visa services in Canada last month, more than a month after they were suspended.

(With inputs from agencies)

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