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India’s ties with Canada may have undergone ‘a tonal shift’ in recent days, says Justin Trudeau | World News

“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they can’t bluster their way through this and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” Trudeau told the Canada-based CBC News in an end-of-year interview.

“There’s an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada isn’t going to make this problem go away,” he added.

“We don’t want to be in a situation of having a fight with India right now over this,” he said. “We want to be working on that trade deal. We want to be advancing the Indo-Pacific strategy. But it is foundational for Canada to stand up for people’s rights, for people’s safety, and for the rule of law. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

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Relations between India and Canada had turned frosty after Trudeau alleged a “potential link” between the Indian government and the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada earlier this year. Nijjar, 46, was the head of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey and the chief of the separatist organisation, Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). He was shot by two unidentified men outside the gurdwara in June this year.

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“Over the past number of weeks, 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 had said in a speech in the House of Commons on September 8.

India had vehemently rejected the allegations, terming them “absurd and baseless”, and had temporarily suspended visa services to the country. It has also constituted a probe committee to investigate allegations.

A month later, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) had unveiled an indictment charging an Indian national for his involvement in a plot to murder a US-based Khalistani leader.

“Today in the Southern District of New York, a superseding indictment was unsealed alleging murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta, aka Nick, 52, in connection with his participation in a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen in New York City,” the statement said.

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First published on: 20-12-2023 at 22:17 IST

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