OCTOBER 3, 2023
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
NEW DELHI: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said that his country is not looking at escalating tensions with India and wants to be on the ground to help its citizens.
“Canada is not looking to escalate the situation with India, will continue to engage responsibly and constructively with New Delhi. We want to be on the ground in India to help the Canadian families there,” Trudeau said.
His remarks came on a day when India asked Canada to remove 40 diplomats, according to a Financial Times report.
The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the demand, said India had threatened to revoke the diplomatic immunity of those diplomats, who have been asked to leave, if they stay beyond October 10. Canada has 62 diplomats in India and India had said that the total should be reduced by 41, the newspaper said.
India-Canada ties have hit rock bottom after Trudeau alleged that Indian agents had a role in the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, whom India had labeled a “terrorist”.
India has dismissed the allegation as “absurd”. Foreign minister S Jaishankar said earlier there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian diplomats in Canada.
Jaishankar also reiterated that if Canada had something specific or relevant relating to the assassination of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, India is open to looking at it.
“The Canadian PM made some allegations initially privately, and then publicly. Our response to him, both in private and public, what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy. And that if he had, if his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. Now, that’s where that conversation is at this point of time,” he said.
During his recent visit to the US, the minister also highlighted the “organised crime, mixed with secessionism, violence, terrorism” in Canada and shared his concerns over the safety of diplomats in the country.
Courtesy: TOI / PTI