US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged India to cooperate with a Canadian investigation into the killing of a Sikh separatist during a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. , according to a US official.
In a speech in Quebec on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has accused India of a role in the murder, said he was confident Blinken would address the Jaishankar issue.
India has called Canada’s accusations unjustified and relations have been strained by the expulsion of a diplomat from both countries.
“Blinken raised the issue with Canada in their meeting and urged the Indian government to cooperate with Canada’s investigation,” the US official said, although the State Department statement did not address the matter.
Trudeau told Parliament earlier this month that Canada suspects Indian agents were involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia province in June.
Nijjar is a Canadian citizen, but India has declared him a “terrorist.” He supported the cause of Khalistan, or an independent homeland for Sikhs to secede from India.
Canada’s traditional allies, including the United States, have taken a cautious approach to the issue. According to political analysts, this is partly because Washington and other major players see India as a counter to China’s growing influence.
Blinken met Jaishankar on Thursday afternoon in Washington. Asked directly if Blinken would take up the case, Trudeau replied: “The Americans will certainly discuss this matter with the Indian government.”
The US State Department’s formal statement on its website after Blinken met his Indian counterpart did not mention Nijjar’s killing, or Canada in general.
A brief summary from the State Department of the matters discussed in the meeting between Blinken and Jaishankar, formally called the reading, listed points such as India’s chairmanship of the G20, the creation of an India corridor- Middle East-Europe and topics such as defense, space and clean energy.
Jaishankar said on Tuesday that New Delhi has told Canada that it is open to studying any “specific” or “relevant” information provided to it about the killing.
Trudeau, who has yet to publicly share any evidence, said last week that he had shared “credible allegations” with India “several weeks ago.”
Blinken and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said last week that the US was “deeply concerned” by the allegations raised by Trudeau.
The US ambassador to Canada told Canadian television that part of the information about the case was collected by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.