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Canada And India Improve Relations Amidst Tensions Over Khalistani Terrorist's Murder

Amidst tensions over the murder of a Khalistani terrorist, Canada and India are making strides in diplomatic relations, as reported by a top Canadian official, with a focus on resolving the investigation and improving collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region.

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Pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar
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India and Canada are making progress in improving bilateral ties, according to a top Canadian official in an interview with CTV. Tensions had escalated over the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, leading to strained diplomatic relations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had suggested a potential link between Indian agents and the 2023 murder, a claim India has denied.

Jody Thomas, Trudeau's national security adviser, emphasized advancements in the relationship, stating, "I wouldn't describe them (the Indians) as not cooperating." The full interview will be aired on Sunday, and an excerpt was published on CTV's website.

Canada has been urging India's cooperation in the investigation into Nijjar's killing. Thomas noted that information from US authorities, who thwarted a plot against a Khalistani terrorist in the United States, supported Canada's position. Trudeau mentioned a perceived change in New Delhi's tone after the US case.

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The strained relations had implications on discussions about a free-trade deal and Canada's plans to expand influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Cooperation with India is crucial in countering China's assertiveness in the region. Thomas acknowledged the importance of a healthy relationship with India for Canada's role in the Indo-Pacific, stating, "Our ability to function in the Indo-Pacific does rely on having a healthy relationship with India. And I think that we are working back towards that."

The acrimony had led to the withdrawal of 41 Canadian diplomats from India, following New Delhi's request to reduce its diplomatic presence in response to Trudeau's remarks in September. Approximately 5% of Canada's population, or 2 million Canadians, have Indian heritage.

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