New Delhi, Sep 19: In a reciprocal move to Canada dismissing an Indian diplomat, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat from India on Tuesday.
The action was taken after India’s rejection of Justin Trudeau’s claim that India was involved in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June as “absurd and motivated”.
Cameron MacKay, the Canadian High Commissioner to India, was called to the South Block today, where the Ministry of External Affairs is based.
“The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and informed about the decision of the Government of India to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said today.
“The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days. The decision reflects the Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities,” it said.
In response to suspicions that India was involved in the murder of the Khalistani leader, Melanie Joly, the Foreign Minister of Canada, announced on Monday that an Indian diplomat had been expelled from Canada.
“We see this possible breach of sovereignty as completely unacceptable, and so, that is also why we’re coming (out) with this information (of the expulsion of the Indian diplomat) today,” Joly said at a news conference.
In the meantime, India denied the claims that Justin Trudeau made in the Canadian Parliament.
“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister” said the MEA in an official statement.
“Allegations of the Indian government’s “involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated” a statement said.
“Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our Prime Minister and were completely rejected,” said the official release.
India is a democratic country with a strong commitment to the rule of law, the statement 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. The inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern,” the MEA statement said.
It is still a source of great concern that Canadian government figures have publicly declared their sympathies for such elements, the release stated.
“The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities including murders, human trafficking and organised crime is not new” read the release.
Any attempts to link the government to such occurrences have been completely rejected by India.
“We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil,” the MEA said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday charged the Indian government with orchestrating Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder in Canada, as reported by CBC News.
Najjar, who was sought in India, was shot and killed on June 18 in Surrey, British Columbia, outside a Gurdwara.
Nijjar, who was residing in Surrey and came from the Punjabi village of Bharsinghpur in Jalandhar, had been labelled an “absconder” by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The Canadian Prime Minister claimed earlier on Monday during a debate in the Canadian Parliament that Surrey’s Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara’s president, a Canadian citizen, had been killed by “agents of the Indian government” as per information available to his country’s national security officials.
“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.
He declared that it was unacceptable for a foreign person or government to be involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen in Canada.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open, and democratic societies conduct themselves,” Trudeau added.
He continued by saying that he was working on this with Canadian allies.
“As you would expect, we have been working closely and coordinating with our allies on this very serious matter,” he said.