Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused India of having a “potential link” to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in Surrey, British Columbia, on September 18.
Trudeau said that Canada has “credible evidence” to support its claim and that it will share it with India “in due course”. He also said that Canada is not trying to provoke India, but wants New Delhi to address the issue properly and cooperate with the investigation.
India has strongly denied any involvement in the killing and called Trudeau’s statement “unwarranted and baseless”. India’s Ministry of External Affairs said that Canada’s allegations are “motivated by domestic political considerations” and that they reflect a “lack of understanding of India’s democratic polity and pluralistic society”.
However, Canada’s charge has gained support from its allies in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The alliance has called the accusations “serious” and expressed solidarity with Canada. The alliance also urged India to respect human rights and religious freedom of its minorities, especially the Sikhs.
The endorsement of Canada’s claims by the Five Eyes alliance could increase India’s diplomatic woes and tarnish its image on the global stage. India has been trying to project itself as a responsible and democratic power, especially after hosting the successful G20 summit in New Delhi earlier this month.
The latest spat between Canada and India over the Sikh issue could strain India’s relations with the Five Eyes alliance.