“Deeply concerned…critical that probe proceeds”: Antony Blinken on India-Canada diplomatic row

New York [US], September 23 (ANI): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday (local time) said that Washington is “deeply concerned” about the allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

He said that the US wants to see accountability and called it “important” that the investigation runs its course and leads to the result.

While addressing a press conference in New York, Blinken said that the US has engaged directly with the Indian government. He said that the US is consulting “very closely” with Canada and coordinating on the issue. He called it important that India works with Canadians on the investigaton.

Asked about US’ engagement with India and Canada amid the diplomatic row, Blinken said, “We are deeply concerned about the allegations that Prime Minister Trudeau has raised. We have been consulting throughout very closely with our Canadian colleagues, and not just consulting, coordinating with them on this issue.””And from our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceed. And it would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability, and it’s important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result,” he added.

He refused to give details regarding the diplomatic conversations that US had with both nations. He said that investigation must move forward and be completed. He expressed hope that India will cooperate with the probe that the Canadian government is making regarding the issue.

Blinken said, “I’m not going to characterize or otherwise speak to diplomatic conversations that we’ve have. We’ve been engaged directly with the Indian government as well. And again, I think the most productive thing that can happen now is to see this investigation move forward, be completed. And we would hope that our Indian friends would cooperate with that investigation as well.””More broadly, you’ve heard me speak to this. We are extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, something we take very, very seriously. And I think it’s important more broadly for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so. So, it’s something that we’re also focused on in a much broader way,” he added.

His statement comes after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau alleged India’s role behind the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India has out-rightly denied such allegations calling them’absurd’ and ‘motivated’.

In his news conference in New York on Thursday, the Canadian Prime Minister, however, failed to present any evidence to back Canadian claims. Trudeau was repeatedly quizzed on the nature of the allegations but stuck to reiterating that there were “credible reasons” to believe that India was linked to the death of Nijjar.

“There are credible reasons to believe that agents of the Government of India were involved in the killing of a Canadian on Canadian soil. That is …there is something of utmost foundational importance in a country’s rule of law in a world where international rules-based order matters” said Trudeau.

“We call upon the Government of India to take seriously this matter and to work with us to shed full transparency and ensure accountability and justice in this matter” he added.

In response to a query, Trudeau said, “We are standing for the rule of law or highlighting how unacceptable it would be for any country to be involved in the killing of a citizen on its own soil.””I think it is important that as a country with a strong, independent justice system … we allow those justice processes to unfold themselves with the utmost integrity. but I assure this decision to share these allegations on the floor in the House of Commons on Monday morning was not made lightly and was done with utmost seriousness,” Canadian PM said. (ANI)

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