World leaders have expressed 'deep concerns' after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
The White House is "deeply concerned" about the accusations, said a spokesman for the National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, according to CNN.
“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 said.
No one has been arrested by Canadian authorities in relation to Nijjar's killing. However, in an update in August, police said they were looking into three individuals and provided a description of a potential getaway car while pleading with the public for assistance, CNN reported.
The claims have "deeply concerned" Australia as well, according to a spokesperson for Penny Wong, the foreign minister of Australia.
“We are closely engaged with partners on developments. We have conveyed our concerns at senior levels to India,” a statement shared with CNN said.
“We understand these reports will be particularly concerning to some Australian communities. The Indian diaspora is a valued and important contributor to our vibrant and resilient multicultural society, where all Australians can peacefully and safely express their views.”
On the other hand, Canada signalled a further souring of bilateral ties with India after Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Monday said an Indian diplomat in the country had been expelled.
The expulsion came in light of PM Justin Trudeau's statement alleging an Indian hand in the killing of wanted Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Joly said the Canadian government had expelled an Indian diplomat over allegations of the country's involvement in the killing of the Khalistani leader, according to Al Jazeera.
In a tit-for-tat move to Canada expelling a senior Indian diplomat, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat to India.
Canadian High Commissioner to India, Cameron MacKay was summoned today to the South Block, the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs.
"The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and informed about the decision of the Government of India to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said today.
It added, “The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days. The decision reflects the Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities”.
Amid the tensions between India and Canada, the security of the Canada High Commission here was also beefed up today. Several personnel of the Central Reserve Police and Delhi Police were deployed outside the Canadian High Commission.
Notably, India rejected the allegations by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier today, regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) termed the allegations ‘absurd ‘and ‘motivated’.
“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister” said the MEA in an official statement.
“Allegations of the Indian government’s “involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated” the release added.
The Indian response came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government on Monday (September 18) of being behind the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
Najjar, who was wanted in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
Speaking in a debate in the Canadian Parliament earlier, Canadian PM Trudeau had also claimed his country's national security officials had reasons to believe that "agents of the Indian government" carried out the killing of the Canadian citizen, who also served as the president of Surrey's Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
"Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar," Trudeau said.