Tuesday, June 18, 2024

India doesn’t rule out probe into Nijjar killing, but Canada must give evidence: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that India did not rule out an investigation into Canada’s allegations over ‘Indian agents’ involved in the murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, but Ottawa must first provide evidence.

“Regarding (Canadian Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau’s allegation, I have discussed it with my counterpart — I still do — we told them, look, if you have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us,” the Minister said in response to a question from journalist Lionel Barber in a conversation titled ‘How a Billion People See the World’ in London on Wednesday.

“We are not ruling out an investigation and looking at anything which they may have to offer. They haven’t done so.” he added.

Jaishankar was speaking in the backdrop of Trudeau’s statement last week in which he said that Canada did not want the fight with India but if bigger countries can violate international law without consequences, then the whole world gets more dangerous for everyone.

Calling Canada “a country with previous history”, Jaishankar referred to the bombing of an Air India flight in 1985.

“It had come to a situation where the diplomats of my country, including the High Commissioner, have been attacked, smoke bombs were thrown at the High Commission and Consulate General, my diplomats were intimated in public, on record, with no action taken on this.

“We are a democracy, they are a democracy. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression also comes with a certain responsibility. The misuse of those freedoms and the toleration of that misuse for political purposes would be very wrong.

“We feel that Canadian politics has given space to violent and extreme political opinions which advocate separatism from India, including through violent means. These people have been accommodated in Canadian politics. They are given the freedom to articulate their views,” the External Affairs Minister said.

Asked whether he believed that Nijjar was a terrorist, Jaishankar said: “He has a track record which is there in the social media. That track record is a pretty graphic one. I would leave everybody to make their judgement. He held public positions.”

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