Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Amid the ongoing diplomatic standoff between India and Canada in light of the latter’s allegation of Indian involvement in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Toronto-based media publication, CTV News, claimed in a report that a majority of the Canadian diplomats working in India, outside the national capital, have been moved to either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. The report comes a day after the Indian side sought reduction of Canada’s diplomatic staff in India.
Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged during a debate in Parliament, claimed the Indian government was behind the fatal shooting of Nijjar.
Trudeau, during a debate in the Canadian Parliament, claimed that his country’s national security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of the Canadian citizen, who also served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
However, India has outrightly rejected the claims, calling it ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’.
Notably, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
In a weekly presser on Thursday, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi told reporters, “Given the much higher presence of diplomats or diplomatic presence here…and their continued interference in our internal matters, we have sought parity in our respective diplomatic presence. Discussions are ongoing on the modalities of achieving this”.
“Given that Canadian diplomatic presence is higher, we would assume that there would be a reduction,” he added. Stating that India’s focus is on achieving ‘parity’ in terms of its diplomatic presence, the Ministry of External Affairs called for a reduction in Canadian diplomats in India citing their continued “interference” in India’s “internal matters”.
Amid the diplomatic sabre-rattiling between the two countries, New Delhi suspended visa operations to Canada and called for a reduction in Canadian diplomatic staff in India.
Amid the diplomatic sparring and souring of bilateral ties in the wake of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s allegation of Indian involvement in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Special Envoy and Coordinator, Global Engagement Center, James Rubin said the standoff was a “tricky subject” as he sought cooperation into the investigation as far as it goes.
During a virtual press briefing on October 5, the US special envoy said, “This is a tricky subject. Let me just say that we support Canada’s investigation. We want everyone to help – including the Indian Government – help advance the investigation into this terrible assassination, and we would urge everyone to cooperate and to take the investigation as far as it goes.”
Amid the diplomatic spat, New Delhi suspended the visa operations to Canada and sought a reduction in Canadian diplomatic presence in India citing “interference in internal matters”.
On whether such tensions as the one between New Delhi and Ottawa could breed disinformation campaigns, Rubin said it is an area that is ripe for “information manipulation”, adding that China has “definitely made a big effort” to interfere in the domestic affairs of Canada.
“Let me just say in our report, if you take a look at it, there are a few examples given about particular Chinese interference in Canadian domestic politics and in their universities and ways in which they’ve sought to manipulate their individuals, coerce individuals, and discredit individuals. And those accounts are in the report, and I urge you to take a look at that. This is obviously an area that is ripe for information manipulation,” he said.
“I haven’t seen any specific evidence of the Canadian-Indian issue, but I do know that China has made a big effort to interfere in the domestic affairs of Canada through the ways I mentioned. And it’s particularly ironic, because you may remember that for decades China was the loudest demander that nobody interfere in their domestic affairs, and yet when it comes to information manipulation, when it comes to interfering in the politics in Canada, when it comes to the South China Sea, where they’re interfering in the territorial waters of countries around the region, when it comes to the famous balloon incident – suddenly sovereignty is not so important to the Chinese Government,” he added.
“This is the first comprehensive U.S. State Department analysis of how Beijing employs these deceptive and coercive methods as it attempts to distort the global information space. It’s doing so to advance its geopolitical objectives,” Rubin told media persons.