Canada's Defense Minister, Bill Blair, expressed the significance of the relationship with India, stating that it remains "important." On September 24, he affirmed that Canada would continue to explore partnerships such as the Indo-Pacific strategy while simultaneously investigating the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader.
The tensions between India and Canada escalated in the wake of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's explosive claims regarding the potential involvement of Indian agents in the murder of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, aged 45, on Canadian soil in British Columbia on June 18. It's worth noting that India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist back in 2020.
The India-Canada rift deepened as India vehemently rejected these allegations, deeming them "absurd" and "motivated." In a retaliatory move mirroring Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official over the case, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat.
Justin Trudeau's startling allegation linking the assassination of Canadian Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June to "agents of the Government of India" marks a new nadir in the deteriorating relations between the two nations. Trudeau claimed that evidence had been shared with India and was also discussed in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend, triggering a chain of events. In response to Canada's expulsion of a senior Indian diplomat, India summoned the Canadian High Commissioner and expelled Canada's Station Chief for intelligence on Tuesday.
To provide context, just hours before Indian parliamentarians were preparing for a special session in the newly constructed Parliament building in Delhi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a stunning announcement in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. He alleged the involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of Canadian national Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had been declared a terrorist and was the leader of the Khalistani Tiger Force (KTF) in India. Nijjar, aged 45, was fatally shot by two masked assailants as he exited a gurdwara in Surrey earlier this year. Although the Canadian Prime Minister acknowledged that the investigation was ongoing, his government had already decided to expel a senior diplomat from the Indian High Commission.