Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has emphasized the importance of maintaining open diplomatic channels with India as the two countries grapple with escalating tensions. Her statement follows India’s request for Canada to withdraw 41 diplomats stationed in the country by October 10. The diplomatic standoff was triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Canada Advocates Private Diplomacy: Canada’s stance on the matter aligns with Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement that the country seeks cooperation and dialogue with India rather than escalating tensions. Foreign Minister Joly stressed the significance of private diplomatic conversations, noting that such discussions are best conducted discreetly.
India’s Response and Accusations: In response to Trudeau’s allegations, India firmly denied any involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and accused Canada of providing shelter to terrorists. As part of its retaliatory measures, India suspended visa services and issued a request for Canada to repatriate 41 of its diplomats stationed in India. Canada maintains a diplomatic presence in Delhi, as well as consulates in Chandigarh, Bangalore, and Mumbai, with a total of 62 Canadian diplomats posted in India. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs highlighted the disproportionate number of Canadian diplomats in India compared to Indian diplomats in Canada.
US Involvement and Probe Cooperation: The issue was raised during Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar’s discussions in the United States, where he engaged with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The United States acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations made by Canada and expressed its desire for India’s cooperation in any investigation.
India’s Clarification and Call for Information: During private talks between India and Canada, India clarified that targeted killings were not part of its policy, refuting any involvement in Nijjar’s assassination. India also urged Canada to share any specific information it may possess regarding the incident. As the diplomatic standoff unfolds, both countries continue to navigate the complexities of their strained relations, with the hope of finding a resolution through private diplomatic channels.