Allegations By Canada Politically Driven, India Amid Diplomatic Row Over Khalistani

Justin Trudeau and PM Narendra Modi at the recently held G20 Summit in Delhi (File)

New Delhi:

Canada has not given any specific information about its allegations of India’s hand in the killing of a Khalistani terrorist on its soil, and the allegation appears to be “politically driven”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said today.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters in Delhi that India has informed Canada it is willing to look into the matter, but Canada has not shared any material on the allegations first made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

“No specific information was shared by Canada then, before, or after. We are willing to look at specific information if provided to us. From our side, we have very specific information on particular individuals in Canada and all these have been shared with them. But Canada hasn’t acted on them,” Mr Bagchi said.

The huge diplomatic battle escalated today with India freezing all Canadian visas, and Canada announcing it would reduce its diplomatic staff presence in India.

India also wants Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence as they have a higher number of staff in India than India has in Canada.

India has been asking Canada to take action against over 20 individuals linked to Khalistani terrorism, Mr Bagchi said. He said Canada has become one of the safe havens for terrorists, adding the hold on Canadian visa processing is linked to the larger issue of Khalistani terrorism.

“Canada should worry about its growing reputation of being a safe haven for extremists and terrorists,” the MEA spokesperson said.

India has rejected the allegations by Canada as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case.

Nijjar was shot dead by two masked assailants outside a Sikh temple he presided over in Surrey, an outer suburb of Vancouver. He was wanted by India over terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder.

Indian accuses Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the activities of radical Sikh nationalists who advocate the creation of an independent state to be carved out of northern India.

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