In a rebuke to the allegations levelled by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the involvement of India in the murder case of Canada-based pro-Khalistan hardliner Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Externail Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said “this is not the government of India’s policy”.
Jaishankar made the remarks during a conversation at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York after his address at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
He said that New Delhi has already informed Ottawa that it is open to looking at specific and relevant information.
Trudeau’s allegations have led to a diplomatic spat between India and Canada with New Delhi rejecting Ottawa’s claims as “absurd and motivated”, followed by tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats and travel advisories.
“We told the Canadians that this is not the government of India’s policy. We told them that look, if you have something specific, if you have something relevant, let us know. We are open to looking at it,” he said.
His remarks came to a question from former US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster at the event.
Jaishankar went on to add that in the last few years, Canada actually has seen a lot of organised crime related to secessionist forces, organised crime, violence and extremism.
“They’re all very, very deeply mixed up,” he added.
Jaishankar went on to say that India has been giving Canada information about organised crime leadership operating out of their soil.
There were a large number of extradition requests and terrorist leaders identified, he said.
Rather, Jaishankar said that India had a situation where actually its diplomats were threatened and consulates attacked and then often comments are made about “there’s interference in our politics”.
“And, a lot of this is often justified as saying, well, that’s how democracies work,” he said.
Jaishankar had addressed the issue earlier during his speech at the UN, but he had not named Canada.