In a meeting with External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged India to assist a Canadian inquiry into the killing of a Sikh separatist.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, who has claimed that India was involved in the murder, said earlier on Thursday in Quebec that he was confident Blinken will bring up the subject with Jaishankar.
India has slammed Canada’s accusations as ludicrous, and relations have soured as a result of both nations’ retaliatory removal of a diplomat.
“Blinken raised the Canadian matter in his meeting, (and) urged the Indian government to cooperate with Canada’s investigation,” the U.S. official said, though a State Department statement made no mention of the issue.
In an address to the legislature earlier this month, Trudeau stated that Canada believed Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder in British Columbia in June to have been committed by operatives of the Indian government.
Despite being a Canadian citizen, India has designated Nijjar as a “terrorist.” He advocated for the creation of Khalistan, a separate nation for Sikhs in India.
Traditional Canadian friends like the United States seem to be treading carefully in this situation. Political observers claim that this is partially due to the fact that Washington and other major countries view India as a check on China’s expanding influence.
Blinken met Jaishankar on Thursday afternoon in Washington. Asked directly whether Blinken would bring up the case, Trudeau replied: “The Americans will certainly discuss this matter with the Indian government.”
After Blinken met with his Indian colleague, the U.S. State Department released a formal statement on its website that made no reference to Canada or the murder of Nijjar.
Informally referred to as a readout, a brief State Department summary of the themes covered in the discussion between Blinken and Jaishankar mentioned items including India’s G20 chairmanship, the development of an India-Middle East-Europe corridor, and subjects like defence, space, and clean energy.
On Tuesday, Jaishankar said that Delhi had informed Canada that it was willing to look into any “specific” or “relevant” details it provided about the slaying.
Trudeau claimed last week that he had informed India of the “credible allegations” “many weeks ago,” though he has yet to provide any public proof.
Last week, Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor for the United States, stated that the country was “deeply concerned” about the accusations made by Trudeau.
The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom make up the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which the U.S. ambassador to Canada said had gathered some information on the case.