India on Tuesday rejected allegations of Canadian P.M. Justin Trudeau that security agencies had found credible allegations of a “potential link” between agents of the Indian government and the June murder of a Sikh leader, describing them as “absurd and motivated.”
In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said it was rejecting the similar statements issued by both the Canadian prime minister and foreign minister. “Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,” it said, adding that Trudeau had voiced similar allegations to Indian P.M. Narendra Modi, which were likewise rejected.
“We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law,” it said. “Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it claimed. “The inaction of the Canadian government on this matter has been a longstanding and continuing concern,” it added.
India also expressed concern over “sympathy” for Sikh separatists voiced by Canadian political figures, claiming this “space” had triggered murders, human trafficking, and organized crime. “We reject any attempts to connect Government of India to such developments,” it said and called on Ottawa to take action against “anti-India elements” on its soil.
Later, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said it had, in a tit-for-tat move, expelled a senior Canadian diplomat, giving them five days to vacate the country. “The decision reflects Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities,” it added.
A day earlier, in an emergency statement to the House of Commons, Trudeau said any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen was “an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” Subsequently, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced Canada was expelling India’s top intelligence agent over the “credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
The U.S. and Australia have both expressed “deep concern” over Canada’s accusations, while Britain said it was in touch with its Canadian partners about the “serious allegations.”