U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is repeating his call for the government of India to cooperate with Canada on the ongoing criminal investigation of the killing of a pro-Khalistan Canadian activist in B.C.
Blinken said he raised the issue with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in a meeting Friday in New Delhi.
“These are two of our closest friends and partners, and of course we want to see them resolving any differences or disputes that they have,” Blinken told reporters Friday.
“We think it’s very important that India work with Canada on its investigation, and that they find a way to resolve this difference in a cooperative way. But that really does go with Canada moving its investigation forward and India working with Canada on it.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed the House of Commons in September that Canadian security agencies were actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Nijjar was shot dead outside of a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C. on June 18.
India’s government rejected the allegation levelled by Trudeau, calling it “absurd and motivated.” India then threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of some Canadian diplomats, forcing the Canadian government to withdraw 41 Canadian diplomats from India.
Blinken also met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who praised the two countries’ “shared belief” in the rule of law.
“Our shared belief in democracy, pluralism and the rue of law underpins our mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse sectors,” Modi tweeted following the meeting. “The India-U.S. partnership is truly a force for global good.”
Trudeau said Friday that his government has been clear from the beginning that it wants to work constructively with India on this matter.
“We have serious reason to believe that agents of the sovernment of India could have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. And India’s response is to kick out a whole bunch of Canadian diplomats, by violating their rights under the Vienna convention,” Trudeau told reporters at a press conference.
“Canada is a country that will always stand up for the rule of law because if might starts to make right again — if bigger countries can violate international law without consequences — then the whole world gets more dangerous for everyone.”
The Canadian government has not publicly disclosed the evidence or intelligence on which it is basing its allegation against the government of India. Sources told CBC News in September that the government has amassed both human and signals intelligence, including communications involving Indian officials and Indian diplomats, in its investigation.