Canada and India They remain immersed on Tuesday in a serious crisis, with mutual expulsions of diplomatsafter the assassination of a Sikh leader in the North American country.
India announced that a high-ranking Canadian diplomat will have to leave the country.
“The diplomat concerned has been asked to leave India within the next five days,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The decision is a consequence of the “growing concern over interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and their involvement in anti-Indian activities,” the ministry explained.
The expulsion responds to that of a senior Indian diplomat announced a few hours earlier by Canada.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeautold parliament in Ottawa on Monday that there are “credible elements” to suggest that India may have been responsible for the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjara Sikh leader and Canadian citizen, in western Canada last June.
“The involvement of any foreign government in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil constitutes a unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”he said in his speech.
This Tuesday India called these accusations “absurd”, denying “any act of violence in Canada.” “We are a democratic State with a strong commitment to the rule of law,” the Foreign Ministry stressed in a statement.
“They aim divert attention from Khalistani terrorists and extremistswho have found refuge in Canada and continue to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India,” the ministry added.
Singh Nijjar was an activist in favor of the creation of a Sikh stateknown as Khalistanand was wanted by Indian authorities for alleged acts of terrorism and conspiracy to commit murders.
He denied those allegations, according to the World Sikh Organization of Canada, an NGO that claims to defend the interests of Canadian Sikhs.
Following Trudeau’s speech on Monday, Canada’s Foreign Minister, Melanie Jolyannounced the expulsion of head of Indian intelligence agency in Canada (RAW).
“Allegations that a representative of a foreign government may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen here in Canada, on Canadian soil, are not only disturbing, they are completely unacceptable,” the minister said.
Indian government accuses Trudeau government of turning a blind eye to activities of radical Sikh nationalists who advocate the creation of an independent Sikh state in northern India.
Canada recently suspended negotiations for a free trade agreement with India and the Minister of Commerce last week canceled a planned trip to the country in October.
The Canadian government on Monday urged the Indian government to “cooperate to clarify this case.”
According to Jocelyn Coulonresearcher in international relations and former advisor to Justin Trudeau, you are accusations are “very serious and well documented” and, if they turn out to be true, they will have “the effect of a bomb on the entire world.”
India frequently regrets the activity of the Sikh diaspora abroadespecially in Canada, which the government says could revive the separatist movement thanks to financial aid.
The Indian state of Punjabwhich has almost 60% Sikh population and around 40% Hindu, lived a violent separatist movement in the 1980s and early 1990s, which killed thousands of people.
According to Indian diplomacy, Trudeau has already discussed the accusations with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the recent G20 summit in New Delhi, which were “completely rejected.”
(With information from AFP)