Blinken Mediates Tense India-Canada Dispute over Sikh Activist’s Murder

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In an attempt to mediate a developing disagreement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions with India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on Thursday. The situation between India and Canada have grown tense, following allegations of the Indian government’s involvement in the homicide of a Sikh activist in Canada.

With the objective to smooth relations between its northern neighbor, Canada, and India, a crucial ally in its Indo-Pacific strategy to sidestep China’s expanding influence, the rendezvous took place at the U.S. State Department.

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While no comments were made on the subject that has caused a stir in Canada-India relations, a U.S. official confirmed it was brought up in the discussion. Speaking off the record, he indicated that Blinken urged India to collaborate with the Canadian investigation.

Ahead of the meeting, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller revealed that conversations with the Indian government about their cooperation had been regular. Post dialogue, Miller announced in a statement that the conversation between Blinken and Jaishankar was far-reaching, involving an array of topics.

These included critical outcomes of India’s recent G20 presidency, potential prospects from the formation of India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, and prospective high-standard infrastructure investments. The two dignitaries also explored the ongoing significance of cooperation leading up to the impending 2+2 Dialogue, specifically in defense, space, and clean energy.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had remarked earlier in the day that he anticipated Blinken to address the issue and urge the Indian government to cooperate with the investigation. He emphasized the crucial need for democratic nations to take this matter seriously and referred to the allegations of involvement in the activist’s killing as credible.

The U.S. officials have recognized the potential profound impact on relations with India due to the fallout from these serious allegations. However, they have refrained from assigning any blame regarding the murder of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

Nijjar, gunned down by masked assailants, was a leading figure in the dwindling movement fighting for an independent Sikh homeland, Khalistan, and was viewed as a terrorist by India.

Existing allegations have been brushed off as ‘absurd’ by India’s foreign ministry, with additional accusations towards Canada for sheltering “terrorists and extremists.” They also insinuated that Trudeau’s efforts to mobilize domestic support among the Sikh diaspora.

Despite these tensions, Trudeau clarified that Canada is not seeking to sever ties with India but is determined to give this matter the seriousness it demands. He emphasized the importance of India’s cooperation to uncover the full facts surrounding the situation.