Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday reiterated India’s stand on allegations made by Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, stressing that India does not commit such acts for “political reasons”.
The diplomatic spat between India and Canada was triggered after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that his government had “credible allegations” about India’s involvement in the killing of Nijjar on Canadian soil in June.
The dispute intensified after a US diplomat claimed that there was “shared intelligence between Five Eyes partners” that triggered Mr Trudeau’s claim about the involvement of Indian agents in the murder.
Mr Jaishankar sidestepped a reporter’s question on the subject by saying: “I’m not part of The Five Eyes, I’m certainly not part of the FBI. So I think you’re asking the wrong person.”
READ | “A response to terrorism cannot be…”: S. Jaishankar at the UN amid the Canada dispute
In his speech to the Council for Foreign Relations in New York on Tuesday, Mr. Jaishankar drew attention to the problem of organized crime in Canada, particularly that linked to secessionist forces, violence and extremism. He also expressed concern about Canada’s apparent willingness to tolerate such activities for political reasons.
India has categorically rejected Canada’s “baseless” claims, pointing out that the Trudeau government has not yet provided any evidence to support its claim. Mr. Jaishankar assured Canada that India will take action if it receives concrete information about Nijjar’s killing. He added that India was “open to exploring this.”
“We have told Canadians that this is not the policy of the Indian government. Secondly, we said if you have something concrete and relevant, let us know. We are open to examining it…The picture is not complete in a way without the context,” he said.
READ | Watch: S Jaishankar opens and ends his UN speech by mentioning ‘Bharat’.
Earlier on Tuesday, in his address to the 78th UN General Assembly, Mr Jaishankar called on UN member states to resist “political expediency” in their responses to terrorism and violence – an implicit criticism of Canada.
Mr Jaishankar also said that respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs must be universal and that the era in which a few nations set the agenda for the rest of the world was over, which many interpreted as a veiled swipe in both China and Canada.