• Monday, June 17, 2024

Diplomacy

Indian, American foreign ministers to meet today amid Canada row

Washington has taken a cautious approach over the India-Canada diplomatic tussle over the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar with US secretary of state Antony Blinken. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was set to meet US secretary of state Antony Blinken in Washington on Thursday (28) amid New Delhi’s ongoing diplomatic row with Ottawa over the killing of a Khalistan separatist leader on Canadian soil in June.

Last week, Jaishankar and Blinken met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York but the Canada issue was not part of their talks there, the US state department said.

State department spokesperson Matthew Miller though declined to comment on specific topics that will be discussed during the upcoming meeting between the two diplomats, he said that Washington requested New Delhi to cooperate with Ottawa in its probe into the murder of Nijjar, an NDTV report said.

“I don’t want to preview the conversations he (Blinken) will have in that meeting (with MrJaishankar), but as we have made clear, we have raised this; we have engaged with our Indian counterparts on this and encouraged them to cooperate with the Canadian investigation, and we continue to encourage them to cooperate,” Miller said.

The US has taken a cautious approach in handling the crisis between India and Canada, both of which are its allies.

Earlier this week, Jaishankar spoke on the diplomatic row at an event at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York where he reiterated India’s stance on the allegations that Canada brought, asserting that New Delhi doesn’t engage in such acts as a matter of policy and principle.

On September 18, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau alleged India’s involvement in the elimination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, designated a terrorist by New Delhi, outside a gurdwara in Surrey in British Columbia.

Blinken said Washington is deeply concerned about the Canadian premier’s allegations. He added that the US wants to see “accountability” and that it is important for the investigation to lead to a result.

India has strongly rejected Trudeau’s allegations, calling them “absurd” and “motivated”. Both countries also expelled senior diplomats from each other’s soil and India even went to the extent of suspending issuing visas to Canadian citizens.

Jaishankar also took a veiled dig at Canada during his address at the UN General Assembly asking the member states to avoid looking into “political convenience” in their responses to extremism, terrorism and violence.

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