US calls on India to collaborate in investigation into assassination of Sikh separatist leader: John Kirby
WASHINGTON: The United States expressed its support for Canada’s investigation into the killing of a Sikh separatist leader and urged India to cooperate. John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, stated that a transparent investigation is necessary to determine the truth and encouraged India to participate. Canada accused India of involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, and expelled India’s top intelligence agent. Nijjar, who advocated for an independent Sikh homeland, was designated as a terrorist by India. The World Sikh Organization of Canada denied the charges. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned any foreign government’s interference in the murder of a Canadian citizen as a violation of sovereignty. India responded by expelling a Canadian diplomat and dismissing the accusation as baseless. Kirby referred to Canada’s allegation as serious and emphasized the need for a transparent and comprehensive investigation. The United States is closely monitoring the situation. Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, spokesperson for Pakistan’s Foreign Office, stated that Canada’s accusation demonstrates India’s global network of extraterritorial killings. Pakistan has previously accused India’s intelligence agency, RAW, of being involved in abductions and assassinations in South Asia. Baloch mentioned that Pakistan provided evidence of India’s involvement in a Lahore attack and the confession of a high-ranking Indian military officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, who admitted to engaging in terror activities in Pakistan. Baloch condemned India’s violation of international law and questioned India’s credibility as an international partner. Foreign Secretary Syrus Qazi expressed Pakistan’s lack of surprise towards Canada’s accusation, citing past instances of Indian involvement in destabilizing Pakistan. Qazi highlighted India’s role in creating instability and emphasized Pakistan’s ability to defend itself. In response to the escalating tensions, India issued a travel advisory warning its citizens against visiting certain parts of Canada due to concerns over hate crimes and violence. Canada also updated its travel advisory for India, specifically cautioning against travel to Occupied Kashmir.