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Nijjar's Killing: Closely Consulting With Canada, India Must Cooperate, says US

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it's important that "India works with Canada" on the probe.

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“It would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, 22 September even as diplomatic relations between India and Canada continue to sour after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau linked Indian agents to the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar

Earlier this week, the Canadian PM linked the assassination of Nijjar – chief of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and a citizen of Canada -- with agents of the Indian government, eliciting a sharp response from the PM Narendra Modi-led government.  

The US Secretary of State said that the American government is not only “closely consulting” with their Canadian colleagues but also “coordinating” with them on this issue. Blinken asserted that it is important that the Canadian investigation must proceed, and that “India works with Canada” on this probe.  

The White House has expressed concerns over the allegations made by PM Trudeau, but Blinken is the senior-most US official to have commented on the issue so far.  

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Hope India Would Cooperate with Canada on Probe: US 

Trudeau raked up the issue in the Canadian Parliament on 18 September, three months after Nijjar was shot dead outside a gurudwara in Vancouver.  

While addressing the parliament he had said, “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.” 

Blinken said that the US is “deeply concerned” about the allegations raised by Trudeau and said that that the “most productive thing” right now is that the investigation move forward and that India cooperates in that investigation.  

“We are very vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, something we take very, very seriously. And I think it's important for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so,” Blinken said.

India Rejects Allegations, Accuses Canada of Sheltering Terrorists 

In response to Trudeau's comments, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had issued a statement on Tuesday, 19 September, calling the allegations "absurd and motivated." 

"Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The inaction of the Canadian Government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern," MEA had said.  

India has suspended visa services for Canada, though the reasons for that aren't clear. Both the nations have expelled top diplomats.  

Meanwhile, during a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Trudeau repeated his call for the Indian government to cooperate. "We are there to work constructively with India. We hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter," Trudeau said.  

As of now, Canadian authorities have not made any arrests in connection with Nijjar's murder. However, in August, the police had released a statement indicating that they were actively investigating three potential suspects. 

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