New Delhi: Amidst a brewing diplomatic confrontation between India and Canada following the assassination of a prominent Sikh separatist leader in Surrey, the United States issued a resounding declaration of support for Canada's investigative efforts. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan conveyed this stance during a press conference held at the White House, emphasizing the gravity with which they approach this matter and underlining their commitment to impartiality.
Sullivan asserted, "This is a matter of profound concern, one that we take exceedingly seriously, and we are resolute in addressing it without any bias towards any particular nation." He further stressed that no nation should be granted any form of special dispensation in such circumstances. The United States, he asserted, is steadfast in upholding its core principles, irrespective of the countries involved. Sullivan pledged to maintain close consultations with their ally, Canada, as they navigate both legal and diplomatic procedures in this complex situation.
Additionally, Sullivan revealed that the United States has been and will continue to engage in dialogue with India regarding the ongoing investigation.
Assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar: The victim, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was the notorious leader of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and was considered one of India's most-wanted terrorists. Tragically, Nijjar fell victim to an assassination, as two unidentified assailants fatally shot him outside a gurdwara in Surrey on June 18th. The separatist leader had a substantial cash reward of Rs 10 lakh placed on his head.
Accusations from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday implicated "operatives linked to the Indian government" in Nijjar's murder. However, India vehemently dismissed these allegations, branding them as "baseless" and "politically motivated."
Surveillance of Indian Diplomats in Canada: The allegations concerning India's involvement in the assassination of a Sikh Canadian revolve around surveillance activities conducted on Indian diplomats within Canada. An anonymous Canadian official disclosed on Thursday that these surveillance records include interactions among Indian officials and diplomats stationed in Canada. It was further revealed that some of this intelligence was gathered by a member of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Suspension of Visa Services: In response to the escalating tensions, India took the decision on Thursday to suspend visa services for Canadian citizens. This move was made in tandem with a firm request for Canada to take assertive action against terrorists and anti-India elements operating on its soil.
When questioned about whether his administration intended to retaliate following India's suspension of visa services for Canadians, Prime Minister Trudeau asserted that his government harbored no intentions of provoking or exacerbating the situation.