Trudeau asks India to work with Canada on Sikh leader’s murder

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday called on India to collaborate with Canada to ensure a transparent investigation into the killing of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil.

“We call upon the government of India to take this matter seriously and to work with us to shed full transparency and ensure accountability and justice in this matter,” he said in response to questions at a press conference on the sidelines of the 78th session of UN General Assembly (UNGA).

On Monday, Trudeau said on that Canada had “credible” evidence linking Indian government agents to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, prompting an angry reaction from New Delhi. Nijjar, 45, was a Canadian citizen.

In Islamabad, Pakistan called the incident, which has further strained ties between Canada and India, “a reckless and irresponsible act that calls into question India’s reliability as a credible international partner and its claims for enhanced global responsibilities.”

It shows “that India’s network of extra-territorial killings has now gone global,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mumtaz Zehra Baloch told reporters.

Traditional Canadian allies have so far taken a relatively cautious approach to the matter. Analysts say this is partly because the United States and other major players see India as a counterweight to the growing influence of China.

“There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with … and we’re not looking to provoke or cause problems,” Trudeau told reporters. “But we are unequivocal around the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians.”

“That’s why we call upon the government of India to work with us to establish processes to discover and uncover the truth of the matter.”

“We are a country of the rule of law. We are going to continue to do the work necessary to keep Canadians safe and to uphold our values and the international rules-based order. That’s our focus right now,” Trudeau asserted when questioned about potential retaliatory measures following India’s suspension of visa services for Canadians.

Tensions between India and Canada escalated this week after Trudeau’s assertion of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in Nijjar’s killing on June 18 in British Columbia.

Trudeau emphasized the importance of addressing credible allegations, stating, “Of course, there are credible allegations that we need to take extremely seriously as Canadians and indeed as a world.”