Statement on Nijjar’s killing was meant to deter India, says Canadian PM Justin Trudeau


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that his statement linking Indian agents to the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, Canada earlier this year was meant to deter New Delhi from repeating a similar action in the country.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar

In an interview to Canadian media, Trudeau said he went ahead with the September 18 revelations in the House of Commons as they were “worried about who could be next or what would happen next” after Nijjar’s killing in June this year in British Columbia.

The Prime Minister said the message was intended as an extra ‘level of deterrence’ as “too many Canadians were worried that they were vulnerable”.

READ: indica’s full coverage of Khalistani activity in the US and Canada

“We felt that all the quiet diplomacy and all the measures that we put in, and ensured that our security services put in to keep people safe in the community, needed a further level of deterrence, perhaps of saying publicly and loudly that we know, or we have credible reasons to believe, that the Indian government was behind this,” Trudeau told the Canadian Press.

“And, therefore, put a chill on them continuing or considering doing anything like this,” he added.

Trudeau acknowledged weeks of “quiet diplomacy” before he made the public statement that included raising the allegations with India at the highest levels, especially during the G20 Summit in early September.

“We knew it would be difficult conversations, but we also knew that this was an important moment for India to be demonstrating its leadership on the world stage with the G20,” Trudeau said.

“And we felt that we could use that as a constructive opportunity to work together,” Trudeau said, adding that he felt those talks were not constructive. The Canadian leader’s allegation has dented the bilateral relations between the two nations, with India calling the claims ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’.

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in November that India did not rule out an investigation into Trudeau’s allegations but Canada must first provide evidence. Trudeau had said that his government shared details of the allegations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his India visit in September, asking New Delhi to cooperate in the investigation.

In addition, Canadian government sources told media outlets that Ottawa had amassed intelligence involving communications between Indian officials, diplomats and information “provided by an unnamed ally in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance”, during a month-long probe on Nijjar’s killing.

“You are talking about illegal wiretaps and talking about evidence. Conversations between two diplomats are secure by all international law,” said Sanjay Verma, India’s High Commissioner to Canada.

In an interview to the Globe and Mail newspaper, Verma said that diplomats’ conversations are protected under international law and cannot be used as evidence in court or publicly released.

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