US on Canada charge: We have been and will be in contact with India at high levels

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WASHINGTON: The US has been and will continue to remain in touch with India at high levels over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations that the Indian government was behind the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Thursday (local time).

Addressing a press briefing, Sullivan said it was a “matter of concern”, adding that the US will also consult allies like Canada while they continue their law enforcement process.

On whether US President Joe Biden intends to speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue and whether the allegations could disrupt the US efforts to boost its ties with India, Sullivan said, “I am not going to get into the private diplomatic conversations that have either already happened or going to happen on this topic. Only to say that we have been and will be in contact with Indians at high levels on this issue. It is a matter of concern for us. It is something we take seriously”.

“It is something we will keep working on, and we will do that regardless of the country. There’s not some special exemption you get for actions like this. Regardless of the country, we will stand up and defend our basic principles and we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process”, he added.

The NSA said the US was holding close consultations with Ottawa and was in touch with the Indian government as well. Sullivan added that the US supports the ongoing efforts to have the matter investigated and ensure that the perpetrators are held to account.

In response to a question on the ongoing fierce diplomatic standoff between India and Canada, Sullivan said, “As soon as we heard from the Canadian Prime Minister publicly about the allegations, we went out publicly ourselves and expressed our deep concern about them. Our support is for a law enforcement process to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable. Not going to get into the substance of private diplomatic conversations, but we are in constant contact with our Canadian counterparts. We are consulting with them closely. We support the efforts that they are undertaking in this investigation, and we have also been in touch with the Indian government as well”.

“And I will leave it at that for today. Only to say that I have seen in the press some efforts to try to drive a wedge between the United States and Canada on this issue. And I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the US And Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations and we would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account. That is what the United States has stood for from the moment this emerged in public and we will continue to stand for that until this fully plays its way”, he added.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on Monday accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India, however, rejected the allegations levelled by the Trudeau administration, terming them “absurd” and “motivated.”

On Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the allegations made by Canada regarding the “potential links” of India behind the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar are “politically driven”.

“Yes, I do think there is a degree of prejudice here. They have made allegations and taken action against them. To us, it seems that these allegations by the government of Canada are primarily politically driven”, Bagchi said while addressing a weekly presser.

He added that no information has been shared by Canada regarding the killing of Nijjar. “We are willing to look at any specific information that is provided to us, but so far we have received no specific information from Canada”, Bagchi said on Thursday.

India on Tuesday expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a reciprocal move to Canada expelling a senior Indian diplomat in light of the claim of New Delhi’s involvement in the killing of Nijjar. The MEA said the Canadian diplomat was asked to leave India within the next five days. (ANI)

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