India swiftly rejected Canada ‘s allegations over killing of Sikh leader as ‘absurd’on Canadian soil. In a tit-for-tat move, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat and issued a strong statement. It denounced Canada’s alleged interference in India’s internal affairs. The allegations were characterized as “absurd” and “unsubstantiated” by Indian officials.
Canada had expelled Indian diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai in connection with the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a move that escalated tensions between the two countries. India’s response came in the form of expelling an unnamed senior Canadian diplomat. They gave them five days to leave the country.
In addition to denying any involvement in the alleged assassination, India repeated its long-standing criticism of Canada. Reason for sheltering “Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who pose a threat to India’s sovereignty. Canada is home to a significant Sikh diaspora community.
Tensions between Canada and India had been growing over recent months, exacerbated by the shooting death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and informal referendum votes held by Sikhs for Justice in the United States, advocating for a separate Sikh state called Khalistan.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar had been designated a terrorist in India in 2020 and was wanted by Indian authorities. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned that Canadian security agencies were actively investigating potential links between the Government of India and Nijjar’s killing.
While the allegations prompted a rare show of unity among Canadian political parties. With all leaders condemning the killing and seeking answers, the response in India was polarized. Many in India viewed the allegations as politically motivated and driven by domestic political concerns. The Indian opposition Congress Party echoed the Modi government’s stance, emphasizing the need for an uncompromising fight against terrorism.
The diplomatic spat that India rejected Canada reflects the complexities of Canada-India relations, particularly in light of historical and contemporary issues. Particularly related to the Sikh community and the broader context of international politics and security.
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