Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in June outside Gurdwara in Surrey in Canada.
Following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent call for India's cooperation in the investigation of the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, former diplomat TP Sreenivasan said that India is not involved in such activities.
"So it's a complex issue, but, I certainly know that India is not involved. So there could be some misunderstanding on again, because India is not in this kind of business," Mr Sreenivasan told ANI.
On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the Indian government to cooperate with Canada in the investigation of the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, CBC News reported.
Addressing the unexpected nature of the news, Mr Sreenivasan mentioned a similar story carried by the Financial Times a few days earlier, expressing surprise at the lack of concrete evidence. He acknowledged the complexity of the issue but reiterated that India does not engage in such activities.
"Well, this is a news which has come out of the court, but a few days ago, the Financial Times carried the same story. And, that time, everybody was quite surprised as to how this happened. Because there is no proof or evidence or anything like that," said Mr Sreenivasan.
The former diplomat acknowledged the relations between India and the United States but clarified, "There is no deliberate attempt on the part of the United States to accuse India." He pointed out that once an issue goes to court in the US system, it is up to the court to decide whether to reveal details.
Mr Sreenivasan highlighted the significance of the situation in the context of Canada and the close cooperation between the US and Canada. He suggested that when the Canadian prime minister made the charge, it appeared that the US was supporting them.
"But this process will come and particularly in the context of Canada. This has assumed certain importance. And, US and Canada, as you know, are joined together in their activities of this kind. That is why maybe when the Canadian prime minister made the charge, US also appeared to be supporting them," he added.
Regarding the allegations made by Canada, Mr Sreenivasan stated, "We are taking the allegations seriously. We have said that you give us the evidence. We will take action." However, he noted that no evidence has been made available yet.
In conclusion, Mr Sreenivasan emphasised that the Indian government is not involved, indicating that the matter is less serious than other situations where the prime minister directly addresses the court. He expressed hope for a swift resolution through investigations on both sides to prevent any further strain on the diplomatic relationships between India and Canada.
Mr Trudeau's statement came after the United States Justice Department filed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US-based leader of the Sikh Separatist Movement in New York.
The US Justice Department has claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities.
The US Justice Department filed the indictment against the Indian national about two months after Trudeau made allegations about India's involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Colombia's Surrey in June. India had outrightly rejected the allegation, terming it "absurd and politically motivated."
The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that Canada has consistently given space to anti-India extremists.
During a special press briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UAE, the MEA spokesperson, while responding to a query, said that India expects the Canadian government to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. He said that India has seen interference from Canadian diplomats in India's internal affairs and called it "unacceptable."
"In so far as Canada is concerned, we have said that they have consistently given space to anti-India extremists and that is actually the heart of the issue. Our diplomatic representatives in Canada have borne the brunt of this. So, we expect the Government of Canada to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. We have also seen interference by Canadian diplomats in our internal affairs and that is unacceptable," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)