The Washington Post newspaper reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought a joint statement from members of the Five Eyes alliance to release the investigation findings implicating ‘Indian government agents’ in the death of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
However, some members, including the United States, refused to join Trudeau in publicly condemning India, “underscoring the lengths the Biden administration has gone to avoid antagonising India and court the Asian power as a strategic counterweight to China”, the Post reported, quoting an anonymous Western diplomat.
The Five Eyes (FVEY) is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In the weeks leading up to the G20 Summit in New Delhi, backdoor discussions among the senior officials from the Five Eyes countries took place to discuss the alleged assassination of Nijjar, who obtained Canadian citizenship in 2015.
However, no public mention was made before the summit, which was seen as an important event for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to The Washington Post, the report noted.
Despite Trudeau’s efforts to raise Nijjar’s killing with India at the “highest levels of government and issue a joint statement condemning the act as contravening international norms”, all members declined saying that they were not comfortable taking such a step when India was organising a major diplomatic event.
Meanwhile, Trudeau attempted to pacify the Indian government following a tit-for-tat expulsion of senior diplomats, saying that Canada wants New Delhi to address the issue properly.
“Canada is not trying to provoke India by suggesting its agents were linked to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader but Ottawa wants New Delhi to address the issue properly,” he said on Tuesday (September 19).
“The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” he added.
On Monday, in a speech to the House of Commons, Justin Trudeau said the Canadian security agencies have been “actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar”.