New Delhi: Asserting that Washington was “vigilant against any instances of transnational repression”, US secretary of state Antony Blinken became the senior-most US administration official on Friday to call on India to “cooperate” with Canada’s investigation into the killing of a Canadian citizen, after Ottawa accused New Delhi of acting in collusion.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Ottawa had shared the “credible allegation” with India “many weeks ago”.
Speaking to reporters in New York on Friday, Blinken said that the United States was “deeply concerned about the allegations that Prime Minister Trudeau has raised”.
His remarks came a day after the US national security advisor Jake Sullivan observed that no country could get a “special exemption” for such activities like the allegations made by Canada of involvement of Indian government agents in Nijjar’s killing. Sullivan had also urged India to join the investigation.
“We’ve been consulting throughout very closely with our Canadian colleague, not just consulting, coordinating on this issue. And from our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceeds and it would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation,” Blinken said on Friday, adding that the US wanted to see “accountability”.
When asked whether US President Joe Biden had raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that he did not want to speak about diplomatic conversations.
Echoing Sullivan’s words about the principles of the case, Blinken said that the US was “extremely vigilant against any instances of transnational repression
“I think it’s important, more broadly, for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so,” he said.
Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an unprecedented explosive statement on the floor of the House of Commons that Canada was pursuing “credible allegations” of a “potential link” between the killing of Nijjar and “agents of the government of India”. India described the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”.
After Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat, India did the same in a tit-for-tat move.
New Delhi further escalated its response stopping all visa operations for Canadian nationals. The Canadian High Commission also began downsizing its presence in India in terms of the number of diplomats.
While not making any commitment to join the investigation, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that India was “willing to look” at any specific information, but Canada had not shared any such evidence.
On Friday, Trudea contradicted India’s claims that Canada had not shared any “specific information”.
“Canada has shared the credible allegations that I talked about on Monday with India. We did that many weeks ago,” he said at a press conference in Ottawa. “We are there to work constructively with India. We hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter.”
CBC News, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, reported on Thursday, quoting sources, that Canada’s “credible allegations” were based on both human and signals intelligence, which includes communications involving Indian diplomats. The report also said that some of the input came from an unnamed member of the Five Eye Intelligence sharing network, which consists of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.