WASHINGTON: The White House has confirmed that the United States is actively engaged in discussions with India regarding Canada's allegations concerning New Delhi's potential involvement in the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader on Canadian soil. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on Friday that the U.S. is also maintaining regular communication with the Canadian government.
A diplomatic dispute has emerged between India and Canada subsequent to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's assertions of possible Indian agent involvement in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, in British Columbia on June 18.
India has vehemently dismissed these allegations as "absurd" and "motivated," leading to the expulsion of a senior Canadian diplomat by India in response to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official connected to the case.
Jean-Pierre told reporters during her daily news briefing, "We have engaged with the Indian government. However, we will not divulge the specifics of our private diplomatic conversations. Nevertheless, we have indeed held discussions with our counterparts in the Indian government."
She added, "Clearly, we share the concerns expressed by the Prime Minister of Canada. Consequently, we are maintaining consistent communication with the Canadian government and our Canadian partners."
When questioned, Jean-Pierre declined to comment on the specifics of the diplomatic discussions.
Earlier this week, the U.S. expressed its support for Canada's efforts to investigate India's alleged involvement in Nijjar's assassination, emphasizing that no country should receive any "special exemption" in cases of such activities.
Despite Canada not yet providing public evidence to substantiate its claims, a media report, citing Canadian government sources, indicated that Ottawa's allegations were based on both human and signals intelligence, as well as information from a Five Eyes intelligence network ally.
The Five Eyes network is an intelligence alliance comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
In a sign of India's firm stance on the matter, the Indian government advised all of its nationals residing in Canada and those considering travel there to exercise "utmost caution." This advisory was issued in light of increasing anti-India activities, "politically-condoned" hate crimes, and "criminal violence" in Canada.
Prime Minister Trudeau, on Thursday, emphasized that Canada does not seek to "provoke or cause problems" with India. Instead, he urged New Delhi to treat the issue with "extreme seriousness" and collaborate with Ottawa to "uncover the truth."
India-Canada relations have been strained in recent months due to the escalating activities of pro-Khalistani elements in North America. India perceives that the Trudeau government is not adequately addressing its legitimate concerns.