New Delhi: Canada’s defence minister has maintained a silence on whether the tense diplomatic ties with India will affect the country’s Indo-Pacific strategy, Canadian outlet Global News reported.
The Canadian government has alleged that India had a role in the murder of Canadian Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver on June 18. All opposition parties have supported the government’s stance on the matter. India has refuted these allegations, and a diplomatic row has ensued.
Canadian defence minister Bill Blair, however, suggested Canada will continue to pursue strategic partnerships with India while the investigations into Nijjar’s killing continues. The relationship with India, Blair said, is “important”.
“We understand that this can be, and has proven to be, a challenging issue with respect to our relationship with India,” he said, according to Global News. “But at the same time, we have a responsibility to defend the law, defend our citizens, and at the same time make sure that we conduct a thorough investigation and get to the truth.”
If the allegations prove to be true, Blair said, “there is a very significant concern that Canada will have with respect to the violation of our sovereignty in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil.”
Canada has spent a lot of money and time in crafting its Indo-Pacific strategy, which commits $492.9 million over five years to increasing military presence and furthering patrol options in the region.