Sat, 02 Dec 2023

New York [US], September 20 (ANI): US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said that"serious allegations" were levelled by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against India in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar adding that the US wanted the matter to be handled in a "transparent" way.

In an interview with CBS News, an American television news channel, Kirby urged India to cooperate in the investigation.

This comes amid growing tensions between India, and Canada after Justin Trudeau on Monday accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Najjar, who was a designated terrorist in India and was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.

"These allegations are serious and we know that Canadians are investigating and we certainly don't want to get ahead of that investigation. We urge India to cooperate in that investigation as well," Kirby said.

Weeks before Canada made this explosive allegation implicating Indian officials in the killing of Khalistan Tiger Force Chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canadian officials sought public condemnation of the murder from their allies, including the United States, but were met with reluctance, The Washington Post reported.

Nijjar had been designated a terrorist by Indian security agencies in 2020 and was accused of supporting attacks in Punjab, the report noted, adding that India sought his extradition in 2022 and linked him to the killing of a Hindu priest in Punjab that same year.

Appealing for a fair and transparent probe into the matter, Kirby said that the US will remain in touch with both India and Canada.

"This is kind of an attack that we obviously want to know that it will be handled in a transparent way and that Canadian people can get answers. We are going to stay in touch with our partners - both countries. We want to see the investigation be able to pursue unhindered and let the facts take itwhere it may," the retired US Navy rear admiral said in the CBS News interview.

World leaders have been reacting to the India-Canada diplomatic standoff. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said that Canberra doesn't talk about security briefings as part of the Five Eyes group, an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK.

On being asked if the Australian government has received a security briefing about the alleged assassination, PM Albanese said,"We don't talk about security briefings from Five Eyes (intelligence alliance), as part of the Five Eyes group."He further said that he has had discussions with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau, but would like to keep those discussions'confidential'.

On the other hand, the UK government is also in regular contact with its Canadian partners over allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament. Foreign Secretary of the UK, James Cleverly, on Tuesday said that all countries should respect sovereignty.

"All countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. We are in regular contact with our Canadian partners about serious allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament," Cleverly posted on X.

Meanwhile, Indian nationals, students in Canada and those planning on travelling to the country have been advised to exercise caution amid the recent strain in relations between the two countries.

Indian students in Canada have been particularly advised to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant.

The MEA also said that Indian nationals and students in Canada must also register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in. Registration would enable the High Commission and the Consulates General to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of any emergency or untoward incident.

The MEA said in view of growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution.

Recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda, as per the MEA release.

MEA said India's High Commission, Consulates General in Canada will continue to be in contact with the Canadian authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian community in Canada. (ANI)

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