Canada shares more information with India on Sikh murder case


(Bloomberg) — Canada and India have stepped up their security exchanges over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in recent months, including visits to India by senior Canadian officials to share robust evidence on the case, according to people with knowledge of the matter. matter.

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But diplomatic relations between the two countries remain deeply frozen ahead of the Group of Seven leaders’ summit in Italy this week, which will be attended by both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Canadian intelligence chief David Vigneault visited India twice in the first few months of this year, sharing phone numbers and other evidence related to Nijjar’s killing, said Indian officials, who declined to be named because the conversations be private.

The intelligence chief was followed by more Canadian officials and discussions between the two sides, the people said, without giving further details of the talks.

India’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the visit of the Canadian security officials and the talks between the two sides. A Global Affairs Canada official confirmed that Vigneault had traveled to India, but declined to provide details on the nature or content of the meetings.

Nijjar, an Indian-born Canadian citizen who advocated for a separate Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, had been designated a terrorist under Indian law. He was murdered in June 2023 in Surrey, British Columbia.

A few months later, Trudeau publicly claimed that his government had credible evidence that the Indian government had orchestrated the assassination. In May, Canadian police arrested four Indian nationals on murder charges in connection with Nijjar’s death.

So far, India has refused to launch a formal investigation into the involvement of Indians and its intelligence services. Instead, Modi’s government responded angrily to Trudeau’s allegations, forcing Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in India and temporarily suspend visa services to Canadians.

At a media conference in early May, India’s Foreign Ministry reiterated New Delhi’s accusation that Canada had not taken India’s concerns on the issue of Sikh separatism seriously. India has “long maintained that separatists, extremists and those who advocate violence have been given political space in Canada,” Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry, told reporters.

India, on the other hand, has launched an investigation into similar US allegations over a foiled assassination attempt on a US-based Sikh leader who has also been declared a terrorist under Indian law.

Despite increased contact between security services, Trudeau’s government has seen no indication that Modi is willing to improve diplomatic ties, said Canadian government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. Trudeau has repeatedly called on Modi to cooperate with his government in investigating all circumstances surrounding Nijjar’s killing.

A sign of how far apart the two countries remain was evident in recent public talks between their leaders. After Modi was re-elected on June 4, Trudeau posted a statement on diversity and the rule of law. .”

Modi responded four days later, saying he looked forward to working with Canada “on the basis of mutual understanding and respect for each other’s concerns.”

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