India said it was ready on Tuesday to examine evidence presented by Canada, which accuses it of being involved in the assassination of a Sikh leader near Vancouver, while reiterating its criticism of Ottawa.
Relations between India and Canada have deteriorated markedly since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that New Delhi was involved in the June assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjard, a Canadian national.
Asked if India would study evidence provided by Canada, the head of Indian diplomacy, visiting New York on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly, assured that New Delhi would examine the evidence provided by any country.
“If there is an incident that is problematic and someone gives me specific information as a government, of course I would look into it,” Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.
Ottawa’s accusations, described as “absurd” by India, caused a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries, marked by reciprocal expulsions of diplomats, and the temporary cessation of the processing of visa applications in Canada by the Indian government.
“We actually harassed the Canadian authorities, we gave them a lot of information on those responsible for organized crime who operate from Canada,” assured the head of Indian diplomacy, in reference to the Sikh independence movement which advocates creation of a state, “Khalistan”, in northern India.
“Our concern only relates to the fact that Canada has been very permissive for political reasons,” he accused.
“We find ourselves in a situation where our diplomats are threatened, our consulates are attacked,” he lambasted.
Hundreds of Sikhs demonstrated Monday against the Indian government in front of India’s diplomatic missions in Canada.
Canada is home to the largest Sikh community in the world outside of India, with 770,000 Canadians claiming membership in 2021, or 2% of the country’s population.