Toronto, Canada, Oct 3 (EFE).- Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday admitted that relations with India were strained amid media reports that New Delhi is due to expel 41 Canadian diplomats.
The diplomatic crisis began last month after Canadian authorities accused India of being involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian activist of Sikh origin.
Ottawa then expelled the head of Indian intelligence in Canada while requesting India’s cooperation in solving the crime. India responded by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat.
“We’re not looking to escalate,” Trudeau said, after British newspaper the Financial Times reported that New Delhi wants 41 of the 62 Canadian diplomats to leave India within a week.
“We’re going to be doing the work that matters in continuing to have constructive relations with India through this extremely difficult time,” Trudeau added.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated to the point that Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly acknowledged Tuesday that bilateral relations with India were experiencing “moments of tensions.”
“In moments of tensions – because indeed there are tensions between both our governments – more than ever it’s important that diplomats be on the ground,” Joly told reporters without confirming whether the reports in the Financial Times were accurate.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot in June 2023 in the western Canadian town of Surrey by unknown gunmen in the parking lot of a Sikh temple.
Indian authorities had charged Singh Nijjar with terrorism for advocating the creation of a separate country, Khalistan, for the Sikh minority in the state of Punjab.
Leaks in the Canadian media suggest that Canadian intelligence services have recordings that link Indian authorities to the murder of the Sikh activist. EFE