The US State Department avoided mentioning the India-Canada conflict while reporting on the meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. None of the ministers specifically addressed the topic when summarizing their conversation. On September 18, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, made the shocking claim that Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Khalistan rebel, had been murdered in British Columbia earlier that year by agents of the Indian government. India has refused to acknowledge any involvement in the murder.
According to Mr. Jaishankar’s statement on Thursday that he and Mr. Blinken exchanged views on international developments and State Department spokesman Matthew Miller’s account of the meeting, the two ministers discussed a range of issues. India’s recently established Middle East European Economic Corridor (IMEC) and India’s chairmanship of the G20 were the topics of discussion between the two ministers.
As part of the upcoming discussion of the finance and defense ministers of the “2+2” countries, the next meeting of which will be held in New Delhi, they also discussed cooperation in the domains of military, outer-space, and sustainable energy. Despite the language at the State Department, U.S. officials have openly called on the government to assist the Canadian investigation.
Trudeau on Canada-India relations and allegations
In a CTV video of his press conference in Quebec on Thursday, in a statement made to the Indian government, Mr. Trudeau said that the Americans came with us when they conveyed to them the significance of their participation in the investigation into credible claims that Indian government operatives executed a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. Through NATO and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, the United States and Canada are more than just neighbors; they are also allies.
According to Mr. Trudeau, all democratic and law-abiding nations must take this issue seriously. We are moving forward with all our partners, including the Government of India, in a deliberate and responsible manner rooted in the rule of law. Responding to a question about Mr. 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. Mr. Trudeau argued that Ottawa was serious about forging closer ties with India, referring to Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy. As a “country of the rule of law,” he argued that Canada would have to work with India to get all the information it needs about Mr. Nijjar’s murder.
Jaishankar’s diplomatic engagement during his US visit
At India House, the Indian ambassador’s official residence, Mr. Jaishankar met with members of Congress on Thursday, in addition to meeting US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and trade representative Katherine Tai.
Mr. Jaishankar also held a meeting with think tanks on Thursday. Mr. Jaishankar spoke to business executives at a meeting organized by the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum. The meeting discussed opportunities arising from US-India cooperation, including opportunities in the areas of basic and developing technologies and supply chains.