Following Justin Trudeau’s allegations against India over the death of Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canada said it worked “very closely” with the United States on the intelligence regarding the same. On Tuesday, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced that his country’s intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” tying “agents” of Indian government with Nijjar’s killing. The Khalistani activist was shot dead on June 18 in Surrey, B.C.
“We’ve been working with the U.S. very closely, including on the public disclosure yesterday,” reported news agency Reuters quoting a senior Canadian government source as saying. The evidence in Canada’s possession would be shared “in due course”, the official added.
Tensions escalated between India and Canada after Justin Trudeau stated “credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar” at the House of Commons and Ottawa expelling an Indian diplomat Pavan K. Rai, who was the RAW station head in Canada.
Trudeau’s claims were dismissed by the Ministry of External Affairs as “absurd and motivated” adding that Ottawa was doing this to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have been provided shelter in that country.
The US urged India to cooperate in the investigation, said a senior State Department official on Tuesday, adding that the US authorities have been in close contact with their Canadian counterparts about the allegations.
“We have been in close contact with our Canadian colleagues about this. We’re quite concerned about the allegations. We think it’s important there is a full and open investigation and we would urge the Indian Government to cooperate with that investigation,” the official told reporters at a news briefing.
Trudeau also urged India to take the matter “with the utmost seriousness,” emphasising that his government’s intentions were not to provoke or escalate but to present the facts as they understand them.
Nijjar, President of a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C. and a close associate of a prominent Khalistan separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, founder Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) – a proscribed organisation — was shot dead in the parking lot of Surrey Gurdwara Sahib.