Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has underscored the importance of addressing "credible allegations" with utmost seriousness during a press interaction in New York. He called upon the Indian government to collaborate with Canada to ensure transparency, accountability, and justice in the investigation into the killing of Khalistani extremist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil.
Trudeau stated, "We call upon the government of India to take this matter seriously and to work with us to shed full transparency and ensure accountability and justice in this matter," in response to questions regarding the diplomatic tensions between India and Canada.
"We are a country of the rule of law. We are going to continue to do the work necessary to keep Canadians safe and to uphold our values and the international rules-based order. That's our focus right now," Trudeau asserted when questioned about potential retaliatory measures following India's suspension of visa services for Canadians.
Tensions between India and Canada escalated this week after Trudeau's assertion of a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in Nijjar's killing on June 18 in British Columbia. Notably, India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. India promptly rejected these allegations as "absurd" and "motivated," leading to the expulsion of a senior Canadian diplomat in response to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official in connection with the case.
Trudeau emphasized the importance of addressing credible allegations, stating, "Of course, there are credible allegations that we need to take extremely seriously as Canadians and indeed as a world."
Regarding Canada's stance, Trudeau clarified, "There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with, not just in the region but around the world. We're not looking to provoke or cause problems. But we are unequivocal around the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians."
He concluded by reiterating the call for cooperation with India: "That's why we call upon the government of India, to work with us to establish processes to discover and to uncover the truth of the matter and to allow justice and accountability to be served."
In response to the growing tensions, India has requested Canada to take strong action against terrorists and anti-India elements operating from its soil. India has also suspended visa services for Canadians and urged Canada to reduce its diplomatic staff in the country, emphasizing the need for parity in the strength and rank equivalence of diplomatic personnel. Currently, the size of Canada's diplomatic staff in India exceeds that of New Delhi's presence in Canada.