Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the foreign minister of India, stated on Tuesday that his country has informed Canada that it was willing to look into any “specific” or “relevant” evidence it provided regarding the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that Ottawa had reliable intelligence connecting Indian agents to the assassination. This statement sparked an outraged response from New Delhi, which rejects the claim.
Asked about the allegations at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York, Jaishankar detailed India’s response in diplomatic engagements.
“One, we told the Canadians that this is not the government of India’s policy,” he said. “Two, we told the Canadians saying that look, if you have something specific, if you have something relevant, you know, let us know – we are open to looking at it.”
India last week suspended new visas for Canadians and asked Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country, citing what it called a deteriorating security environment.
India had been “badgering the Canadians” about its claims that organized criminals are based there, a reference to separatists like Nijjar, he said, adding that India had made “a large number of extradition requests.”
“The picture is not complete without the context,” he added. “You also have to appreciate that in the last few years, Canada actually has seen a lot of organized crime, you know, relating to, you know, the secessionist forces, organized-crime, violence, extremism, they’re all very, very deeply mixed up.”
Allies of Canada, including the United States, have cautiously expressed concern over the claims and urged India to cooperate with Canada’s investigation.
The U.S. ambassador to Canada told Canadian television that some information on the case had been gathered by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK.