India accuses Canada of “consistently giving space to anti-India extremists”


India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday accused Canada of “consistently giving space to anti-India extremists.” During a special press briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE for COP28, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, while responding to a query, said India expects the Canadian government to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

He said India has seen interference from Canadian diplomats in India’s internal affairs and called it “unacceptable.”

“Insofar as Canada is concerned, we have said that they have consistently given space to anti-India extremists and that is actually the heart of the issue. Our diplomatic representatives in Canada have borne the brunt of this. So, we expect the Government of Canada to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. We have also seen interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and that is unacceptable” Bagchi said.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had called on the Indian government to cooperate with Canada in the investigation of the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, CBC News reported. Trudeau was quoted by CBC as saying that the news coming out of the US underscores the need for India to take the issue seriously.

Speaking to reporters, Trudeau said, “The news coming out of the United States further underscores what we’ve been talking about from the very beginning: which is India needs to take this seriously.”

He said, “The Indian government needs to work with us to ensure that we’re getting to the bottom of this. This is not something that anyone can take lightly.”

Trudeau’s statement came after the United States Justice Department filed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US-based leader of the Sikh Separatist Movement in New York.

The US Justice Department has claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities.

The US Justice Department filed the indictment against the Indian national about two months after Trudeau made allegations about India’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Colombia’s Surrey in June. India had outrightly rejected the allegation, terming it “absurd and politically motivated.”

Earlier this week, the Indian High Commissioner in Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma said that India is only asking for “specific and relevant” evidence in the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar so that it can help Canada in reaching the conclusion of the investigation.

In an interview with Canadian journalist Tahir Gora at TAG TV Toronto, he said, “India is only asking for specific and relevant information so that we can help you. We can help the Canadian investigators to reach their conclusion, to the extent that it will be viable for them to go for the legal action…I will urge my Canadian friends and colleagues. I can assure them that we will certainly look into them.”

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