Vikram Sood, the former head of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), has termed Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada as a “claim without evidence”. Trudeau claimed that his country’s national security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of the Canadian citizen, who also served as the president of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
“He’s made a claim without evidence, and having made the claim, he’s taken an action, i.e. to expel the Indian diplomat. Now, he wants us to cooperate with him. What is he saying? The whole thing sounds very absurd and illogical to me.” said Sood, former chief of India’s foreign intelligence agency. Nijjar, who was wanted in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia, earlier this year on June 18.
On row between India and Canada, Sood said, “Things like this happen between two countries. There is a dispute or an argument on certain issues… Two sovereign nations must talk about things. But this man (Justin Trudeau) has just gone around and decided that he has to do it like this. His visit to India in G20, he wasn’t very happy with that, nor was he with his 2018 visit… If you have relations, you maintain them. Go by the laid down principles if you are a friendly country.
We are not enemies but he makes it look as if we are…” Hailing from Bharsinghpur village in Punjab’s Jalandhar, Nijjar was based in Surrey and had been declared “absconder” by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). “Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said on Monday (US Local Time). Meanwhile, signalling a further souring of bilateral ties, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Monday said an Indian diplomat in the country had been expelled.
Meanwhile, former Indian diplomat KP Fabian on Tuesday said the tensions in India-Canada relations will ultimately affect the Indian-origin people in Canada and de-escalation is of utmost importance. “There are many people of Indian origin in Canada and also students. So, I think citizens will suffer. So, it is important to de-escalate the issue. There will also be problems in the visa issuance process,” the formal diplomat said. Fabian said normal diplomatic relations between India, and Canada have come to a stop and the situation can further escalate.
He said, “You have to understand that normal diplomatic relations have come to a stop. The talks on trade and investment suspended.” “It’s going to get worse first before it gets better. So, we are looking at further escalation,” he added. The former Indian diplomat said a senior Canadian diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next four to five days. “Now this was to be expected. This is what normally happens.
But to go back, even Canada had a better choice.” He, however, added: “I am afraid both countries do not stand to gain. Neither country is going to gain in perception.” India has rejected the allegations by Canadian PM Trudeau regarding the government’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Nijjar. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) termed the allegations ‘absurd ‘and ‘motivated’.