• Thursday, November 30, 2023


A week after Trudeau’s explosive allegations, Canada defence minister focuses on Nijjar murder probe

Bill Blair said that if the allegations are proven true, India’s actions would pose a major challenge to the international law and rules-based order.

Canadian defence minister Bill Blair (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

CANADIAN defence minister Bill Blair has sought to shift focus toward the ongoing criminal probe into the murder of Khalistan separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia.

His remark came during an interview on Rosemary Barton Live hosted by the chief political correspondent of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Rosemary Barton, on Sunday (24) and almost a week after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau brought an explosive accusation against India saying its agents were involved in the murder of Nijjar who was gunned down by identified assassins outside a gurdwara.

India came up with a strong response calling the allegations “absurd” and “motivated” and following both countries’ expelling each other’s diplomats, New Delhi also suspended issuing visas to Canadian citizens. Reports have also claimed that Canada has intelligence proof to back its claim. India, on the other hand, accused Canada as a safe haven for terrorists.

In the interview, Blair said, “It’s another reason why I place such emphasis on the investigation that’s taking place, that we’d be able to move beyond credible intelligence to evidence, strong evidence of exactly what happened, so that we and the Indian government can know the truth, have the facts and then work together to resolve it in an appropriate way.”

The 69-year-old minister, who assumed charge in July, also said that he would not say anything that would “compromise the integrity of that investigation”, calling it “too important”.

Blair, who said he is aware of the impact that the diplomatic row has left on the Indian-Canadians.

He said he really wanted the two nations to start having a conversation, expressing confidence that once that happens and they show an intent in helping their citizens, they “will find common ground to make friends”.

Canada has urged India to co-operate with the probe into Nijjar’s killing. Blair reiterated it in the interview saying Ottawa has requested its allies and India to co-operate in the investigation saying the outcome is very important.

The Canadian defence minister’s focus on the investigation echoed similar sentiments expressed by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti earlier last week which was an eventful one.

“We have deep concerns about the allegations and we would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account,” Sullivan remarked on Thursday (21).

Blair, however, did not reveal what intelligence his government had received from the allies that made it speak on the matter publicly.

He also said that if the allegations are proven true, New Delhi’s actions would pose a major challenge to the international law and rules-based order, the CBC added.

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