WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – The United States made clear on Friday that it expects the Indian government to work with Canada in efforts to investigate the possible involvement of New Delhi’s agents in the killing of a Canadian citizen in June.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that Ottawa has reliable intelligence linking Indian agents to the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nigar, sparking an angry reaction from New Delhi, which denies the accusations.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters at a press conference: “We are deeply concerned about the allegations raised by Prime Minister Trudeau.” “It will be important for India to work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability.”
The White House has expressed its concerns about these allegations, but Blinken is the most senior US official to comment so far.
Canada’s traditional allies, including the United States, appeared to take a cautious approach to the issue earlier this week. This is partly because the United States and other major players see India as a counterweight to China’s growing influence, political analysts said.
“We have had very close consultations with our Canadian colleagues, not only consulting, but coordinating with them on this issue,” Blinken said.
During a press conference, Trudeau was asked about these allegations, and he reiterated his call for the Indian government to cooperate.
“We are there to work constructively with India. We hope they will engage with us so we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau also said Friday that Canada has shared its concerns with New Delhi for some time.
“Canada has shared the credible allegations it spoke about on Monday with India. We have been doing so for several weeks,” Trudeau told reporters.
The Canadian government has collected human intelligence and leads in a months-long investigation into the killing of the Sikh separatist leader, CBC News reported separately on Thursday, citing sources.
The report said the intelligence included communications with Indian officials present in Canada, adding that some of the information was provided by an anonymous ally in the Five Eyes alliance.
Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing network that includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
However, Trudeau did not provide any details about what Canadian spy agencies collected, and his office did not confirm or deny the CBC report.
High-ranking Canadian government sources said Trudeau would not have spoken publicly without having a high level of confidence in the intelligence.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Steve Shearer in Ottawa; Edited by Daniel Wallis and David Gregorio
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