Ottawa, Sept 20 (The Street Press) – This week, Canada shared some information suggesting that Indian government agents might be involved in the killing of a separatist Sikh leader. Normally, such news can cause concern among democratic allies. But this time, things were different.
India is gaining attention from the United States and other countries as a way to balance against China. Justin Trudeau’s unusual criticism, just a few days after New Delhi hosted a G20 Summit, is making Western nations feel a bit uncomfortable.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that Canada is actively investigating credible claims that Indian agents may have played a role in the murder of Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
Before this announcement, Ottawa had been talking to important allies like the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the response has been restrained. Britain didn’t publicly criticize India and mentioned that bilateral trade talks would proceed as scheduled. In fact, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s statement about the situation didn’t directly name India.
Britain finds itself in a tricky situation, torn between backing Canada and potentially upsetting India—a nation it seeks as a trade partner and ally in addressing challenges posed by China. This perspective was shared by Chietigj Bajpaee, an India expert at the Chatham House think tank in London.
White House national security adviser John Kirby expressed “deep concern,” urging Indian officials to cooperate in the investigation. India has denied any involvement in the murder.
According to The Washington Post, Trudeau attempted to secure a joint statement condemning India during last week’s Group of 20 summit in New Delhi but was rebuffed by the United States and other nations.
The restrained reaction to Trudeau’s allegations stands in sharp contrast to the strong response following the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent in England in 2018. Back then, Britain, the United States, Canada, and other nations expelled over 100 Russian diplomats as a punitive measure against Moscow, which consistently denied involvement in the attack.
Given the reluctance of allies to consider a joint condemnation of India, Canada’s options appear limited for now, especially until they can present undeniable evidence.