By – Prakarsh Kastwar

According to Justin Trudeau, Canada wants India to adequately address the Hardeep Singh Nijjar killing by Khalistani extremists.

The assassination of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was allegedly carried out by Indian agents, but according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ottawa wanted New Delhi to appropriately resolve the matter rather than inciting India.

“The Indian government must treat this issue extremely seriously. We are doing that; we are not trying to start a fight or get things heated up,” he told the press. The Canadian government’s charges have previously been rejected by the Indian government as ludicrous.

Nijjar was killed in June, and Trudeau said on Monday that “credible allegations” connected Indian operatives to the crime. India has accused Nijjar of carrying out terrorist activities within its borders.

When the claim was first brought up in private by Trudeau, Prime Minister Narendra Modi “completely rejected” it, New Delhi insisted that it had nothing to do with the murder.

India’s tit-for-tat action

A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled from India earlier on Tuesday in retaliation for Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the matter, adding to the already strained bilateral relations.

The decision to expel the senior diplomat was announced to Canada’s high commissioner to India, Cameron MacKay, who was then summoned. According to the ministry of external affairs (MEA), the move reflects New Delhi’s growing concern over the “interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities.”

India denies the assertion made by Justin Trudeau.

Asserting that “such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been given shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the MEA also attacked remarks made by Trudeau and Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly.

Although New Delhi withheld the name of the Canadian diplomat who has been ordered to leave India within five days, persons with knowledge of the situation said that it is Olivier Sylvestere, station chief of the Canadian intelligence agency in New Delhi.

Hours after Joly stated that a “top Indian diplomat” had been expelled from Canada, India took moves to deport the Canadian diplomat. On June 18, Nijjar, a Canadian Khalistani terrorist, was shot and killed in Surrey by two assailants.

According to Canadian broadcaster CBC news, Joly’s office identified the diplomat as Pavan Kumar Rai, the chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), who has been told to leave Canada.

It is considered “rare” for Canada to have made such a public announcement regarding the expulsion of an Indian intelligence agent because such matters are often handled in a covert manner.

After Trudeau stated in the House of Commons that Canada was investigating “credible allegations potentially linking” Indian operatives to the murder of Nijjar, a series of events ensued.

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