Indian Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar, and US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken met on Thursday, 28 September 2023 in Washington DC amid the fiery India-Canada row over the killing of a Khalistani terrorist Harshdeep Singh Nijjar.
In a recent speech given by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was committed to building close ties with India.
Harshdeep Singh Nizar was designated as a terrorist by India in 2020 and was shot dead outside a Gurudwara in Sydney on 18 June 2023. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly raised allegations against the Government of India and said that agents assigned by the Government of India were linked to the killing, but has offered no evidence for this statement till now.
India rejected Canada’s absurd allegations and called it ‘motivated’ Mr Jaishankar shared a statement directing at Canada- that India is willing to look into this matter if provided with something ‘specific’ and ‘relevant’.
The India-Canada standoff over Nijjar’s killing was not mentioned even once in the US State Department. The Readout between the two diplomats of the two countries was regarding multiple topics like the key outcomes of India’s G20 Presidency. The two diplomats also emphasized the importance of cooperation ahead of the upcoming 2 + 2 dialogue in particular areas of Defence, Clean Energy, and space as stated by the US Department.
When asked about the Canada row, Mr. Blinken refused to respond and instead said that it was a pleasure to welcome a friend and colleague, the Foreign Minister of India, Mr Jaishankar.
Nijjar was a Canadian citizen but India declared him a terrorist because he supported the cause of Khalistan and wanted an independent homeland for Sikhs to be carved out of India. He was the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and was one of India’s most wanted terrorists. He was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen outside a Gurudwara in Sydney in West Canada on 18 June 2023.
Points to know about the Khalistani terrorist’s killing
According to reports that have now emerged, Pakistan spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was the reason behind the killing of Nijjar. This was done in order to strain relations between India and Canada as per sources reported by India Today.
Other sources like CNN, News18 say that two men from ISI were given the task of killing nature due to business reasons. The duo sought to kill Nijjar in order to take complete control over the drugs business as reported by the Daily.
According to sources, Nijjar was in close touch with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and had met senior officials days before being killed.
Trudeau on Canada-India Relations
From a CTV video of his press conference held on Thursday, Mr. Trudeau that through NATO and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, the United States and Canada are more than just neighbors; they are also allies. Therefore, the two countries want an investigation of Indian government operatives executing a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil.
PM Trudeau said that as a ‘country of the rule of law’, Canada would have to work with India to get all the information it needs about Mr. Nijjar’s murder. Blinken’s decision to meet Mr. Jaishankar despite the allegations leveled against Delhi, Mr. Trudeau described India as a “rising economic power” and a “significant geopolitical player” and said it was highly important for everyone to continue to benefit and carefully cooperate with the Government of India.