India ready to examine 'specific' evidence on Canada Sikh's murder

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (Photo/AFP)

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said that India told Canada it was open to looking into "specific" or "relevant" information regarding the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, whose murder Ottawa has linked to New Delhi.

"We told Canadians this is not the government of India's policy. We told them if you have something specific or if you have something relevant, let us [India] know, we are open to looking at it," he told Council on Foreign Relations event in New York on Tuesday.

"The picture is not complete without the context," he added.

Jaishankar said in the last few years "Canada has seen a lot of organised crime … relating to secessionist forces, organised crime, violence extremism, they are all very very deeply mixed up."

He said New Delhi had been "badgering the Canadians" and giving them information about organised crime leadership which operates out of Canada.

"There are large number of extradition requests, there are terrorist leaders who have been identified, there is an environment there [in Canada] … that is important to factor in if you have to understand what’s going on out there," he said.

"Our concern is that it's really been very permissive because of political reasons," he said, adding, "our diplomats have been threatened, our consulates have been attacked [in Canada]."

"A lot of this is often justified as saying that's how democracies work."

Canada-India tensions

Tensions spiked between the two countries after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the country's parliament that Indian government agents were involved in the assassination of a Sikh-Canadian leader outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia in June.

Trudeau said there were "credible allegations" that New Delhi was implicated in the murder, which was committed by two masked gunmen.

Last week, US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen confirmed that "shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners" had informed Trudeau of the possible involvement of Indian agents in the murder of a Canadian citizen.

Intelligence-sharing network Five Eyes includes US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Asked by a reporter if he can comment on Five Eyes' intelligence that was shared with Ottawa, Jaishankar said, "I am not part of Five Eyes or FBI, so I think you are asking the wrong person."

India says it has no role in the killing and insists that Nijjar was a "terrorist" who was part of a movement to carve out an independent Sikh country, or Khalistan, in northern India's Punjab state.

The Khalistan movement in India surged in the 1980s. It was defeated by force, and most of its leaders are now said to be based in Canada, Australia and the UK.

Canada is home to the largest Sikh community in the world outside of India, with 770,000 Canadians adhering to Sikhism in 2021, or two percent of the country's population.


Source: TRT