22nd September 2023 – (New York) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on India to collaborate in an investigation into the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia. Trudeau stated that Canada would not release its evidence, despite credible allegations linking Indian government agents to the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. The revelation sparked a strong reaction from New Delhi, while traditional Canadian allies have taken a cautious approach, partly due to India’s significance as a counterweight to China’s influence.
According to CBC News, the Canadian government has gathered human and signals intelligence during a months-long investigation into Nijjar’s murder. The report, citing sources, stated that no Indian official has denied the allegation of potential government involvement in Nijjar’s death during closed-door discussions. The Ministry of External Affairs in India has not yet responded to Reuters’ request for comment on the CBC report.
The intelligence collected includes communications involving Indian officials, including Indian diplomats present in Canada. Some of the intelligence came from an unidentified ally within the Five Eyes alliance, an intelligence-sharing network comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed that the United States is in contact with both Canada and India regarding Ottawa’s allegations. Sullivan emphasised that there is no exemption for actions like these and that the matter is of concern to the U.S.
During a press conference at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Trudeau emphasised the importance of the rule of law and the protection of Canadians. He called upon the government of India to cooperate in establishing processes to uncover the truth behind the matter.
The murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar has strained relations between India and Canada. While Canada has not shared specific information about the murder, India has suspended the issuance of new visas for Canadians and requested a reduction in Canada’s diplomatic presence in the country. However, Trudeau did not respond to questions regarding these measures.
Meanwhile, an Indian trade official stated that there is no reason for Canadian pension funds to withdraw from investing in India. The case continues to unfold, with Canada asserting its commitment to justice processes proceeding with integrity.