By Reena BhardwajWashington [US], September 20 (ANI): Following Canada's accusation that the Indian government "may have taken part" in a political assassination on Canadian soil has resulted in a souring of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
India has rejected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegation of India's involvement in the killing of pro-Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, terming it as "absurd and motivated".
The development has also left the United States in a dilemma on what stand to take. There will be pressure on Washington to weigh in support of Canada, one of its closest allies, but at the same time, the US values, in a big way, its relationship with India, a strategic partner in countering China, experts have pointed out.
Commenting on the diplomatic spat, several experts have said that the US should take "proactive" steps on dealing with the Khalistan activism in the US and that Washington hasn't come out and affirmed what Trudeau was hinting at.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in front of parliament and said law enforcement was"actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India" and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen whom New Delhi had declared a terrorist several years ago over his support of an independent Sikh state.
Jesse Singh, founder and chairman of the community group, Sikhs of America, told an event hosted by Washington's Hudson Institute think tank that Trudeau has failed to provide any proof.
"It's just something that he said is a'credible allegation,' with no proof at all. And I think we'll have to wait to see if there is any proof there and then I think further decisions can be taken," Singh added.
While reacting on the issue, the US has said it is"deeply concerned" about the accusations.
"We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by PM Trudeau yesterday. We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada's investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice," a State Department spokesperson told ANI.
"Sometimes in Washington, what isn't said is as important as what is said in the fact that the United States hasn't come out and affirmed what Justin Trudeau was hinting at, I do think is important. Now watching what the United States would do if Justin Trudeau wants to become an Olympic hole digger, and perhaps the United States role would be to provide a ladder to help them climb out," Micheal Rubin, said at the Hudson Institute.
Several media reports suggest, that Canada had requested the US to condemn India over the killing as well, something Washington declined to do in order to not anger India, Reuters, meanwhile, reported that US intelligence was involved in helping Ottawa put together the case against Delhi.
Another top South Asian analyst Dinsha Mistree, said that the US must be proactively involved to avoid a situation like the India-Canada standoff.
"I think there are several lessons that can be drawn from this specifically related to the US-India relationship, but as the Indian-Canadian relationship has deteriorated for something that didn't necessarily need to deter," Mistree told the audience.
Mistree stressed that more collaborations are needed.
"More collaboration. If we don't do it, we could end up in a situation like what we're seeing right now transparently candidate worse. And so we shouldn't be proactive in this," he said.
Canadian officials have said that Trudeau also raised the allegations with President Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Meanwhile, India has outrightly rejected the allegations, dubbing it as "absurd" and "motivated".
"We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister," the MEA said in an official statement.
"Allegations of the Indian government's "involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated", the MEA release added.
In a tit-for-tat move on Tuesday, India followed by expelling a Senior Canadian diplomat and giving him 5 days to leave the country.
Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar who was a designated terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18. (ANI)