(IANS): Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that India did not rule out an investigation into Canada’s allegations over ‘Indian agents’ involved in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, but Ottawa must first provide evidence.
“Regarding (Canadian Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau’s allegation, I have discussed it with my counterpart — I still do — we told them, look, if you have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us,” the minister said in response to a question from journalist Lionel Barber in a conversation titled ‘How a Billion People See the World’ in London on Wednesday.
“We are not ruling out an investigation and looking at anything which they may have to offer. They haven’t done so.” he added.
Calling Canada “a country with previous history”, Jaishankar referred to the bombing of an Air India flight in 1985.
“It had come to a situation where the diplomats of my country, including the High Commissioner, have been attacked, smoke bombs were thrown at the High Commission and Consulate General, my diplomats were intimated in public, on record, with no action taken on this.
“We are a democracy, they are a democracy. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression also comes with a certain responsibility. The misuse of those freedoms and the toleration of that misuse for political purposes would be very wrong.
“We feel that Canadian politics has given space to violent and extreme political opinions which advocate separatism from India, including through violent means. These people have been accommodated in Canadian politics. They are given the freedom to articulate their views,” Jaishankar said.
MEANWHILE, CBC reports that Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng suggested to media on Wednesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco that trade talks with India won’t resume until India cooperates with the investigation into the murder of Nijjar.
When a reporter asked Ng about the trade talks, she replied: “Right now, the focus for Canada is to let the work of the investigation proceed. You’ve heard me and the government talk about how important it is that investigation happens given that we had a Canadian killed on Canadian soil. So we’ll let that happen.”
CBC said that Ng pointed out that Canadian businesses continue to do business in India and her job as trade minister is to make sure they have the supports and tools they require.