[Canada], Ottawa, November 6, 2023: Sanjay Kumar Verma, India’s High Commissioner to Canada, reaffirmed New Delhi’s position on the diplomatic impasse with Ottawa and challenged the latter to provide proof for its claim regarding the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
The comments were made by the Indian envoy during a Friday interview with The Globe and Mail, a Canadian publication.
This was in response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusations that Nijjar’s June death was the result of “agents of the Indian government”
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In a tit-for-tat action over Canada’s decision, India denied the claims as “absurd and motivated” and expelled Canadian envoys.
Verma emphasized that Canada and its allies have not provided India with any proof of its purported role in the killing of Nijjar.
He went on to say that PM Trudeau’s remarks in public had “damaged” the ongoing Canadian police investigation into the homicide.
“There is no specific or relevant information provided in this case for us to assist them in the investigation,” Verma stated.
“Where’s the proof, anyway? Where is the investigation’s conclusion? To put it one step further, I would argue that the probe has already been compromised. Someone at the top has given the order to claim that agents from India are responsible for it, he said according to The Globe and Mail.
After stopping the services till “further notice” in September due to poor relations, India has resumed providing visas to Canada for four categories.
Canada withdrew 41 diplomats from India last month in response to New Delhi’s expressed concerns on diplomatic strength parity.
Additionally, Ottawa stopped providing visa and consular services at its consulates in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Chandigarh.
Verma stated that any talks between diplomats are “protected and can’t be used as evidence” in court or made public, while categorically rejecting India’s involvement in the murder.
“You are discussing evidence and unlawful wiretapping. All international law protects conversations between two ambassadors,” he stated.
“Tell me how you recorded these exchanges. Prove to me that the voice was not imitated.”
When questioned about whether Ottawa has asked India to extradite any potential suspects in the Nijjar killing, Verma responded, “Those conversations are between the two governments.”
The Indian ambassador also mentioned that in the last five or six years, New Delhi had sent 26 requests to Ottawa for the extradition of Canadians to India. “We are still waiting for action,” he stated.
The High Commissioner added that due to threats against him, he has been placed under the protection of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
“I feel that is hate speech and an incitement to violence,” Verma stated.
“I’m worried about my security and safety,” he continued. My consul generals’ security and safety are a worry of my. God forbid anything might occur.”
In response to a question on what New Delhi thought was required to mend diplomatic ties, the Indian envoy stated that both parties must make sure that disagreements are resolved “through professional communication and professional dialogue.”
He did, however, warn that India anticipates Canada to “rein in Khalistan supporters”.
He stated, “Let the investigation run its course,” in reference to the assassination of Nijjar, but added that Canada also needed to address the “core issue.”
“Don’t allow your soil to be used by a group of Canadian citizens who want to dismember India,” he stated. “Who want to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.”
“Rules and laws need to be established,” Verma continued.
According to a recent Nanos Research survey for The Globe and Mail, the majority of Canadians believe that Canada should provide the proof that supported Trudeau’s claim that India was responsible for Nijjar’s death.
Seven out of ten respondents agreed, or agreed somewhat, that Ottawa should make any proof available. Ten percent disagreed or disagreed somewhat.