Canada said on Monday that it was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June, dealing a further blow to diplomatic ties between the countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an emergency statement to the House of Commons that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen was “an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”.
“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India” and Nijjar’s death, Trudeau said.
He said he had raised the murder directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi last week, and urged the government of India to “cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter”.
“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government. Last week at the G20 I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms,” he said.
Canada also expelled India’s top intelligence agent in the country on Monday, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said, without providing details. The Indian High Commission in Ottawa did not respond to requests for comment.
Trudeau’s comments mark a significant escalation in tensions between Canada and the world’s largest democracy, with New Delhi unhappy over Sikh separatist activity in Canada.
Modi conveyed his strong concerns to Trudeau at the G20 summit over recent demonstrations in Canada by Sikhs calling for an independent state
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population. Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state and was designated by India as a “terrorist” in July 2020.