A senior Canadian diplomat was ordered to leave India on Tuesday, New Delhi’s foreign ministry said, hours after Ottawa expelled an Indian diplomat over the killing of a Sikh separatist near Vancouver.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs also summoned Canadian High Commissioner to India Cameron MacKay, and was informed about the decision to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India, India Today reported.
New Delhi’s decision reflected its “growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The move came a day after Canada expelled India’s top intelligence agent in the country, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said, without providing details. The Indian High Commission in Ottawa did not respond to requests for comment.
Canada said it was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an emergency statement to the House of Commons that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen was “an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population. Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state and was designated by India as a “terrorist” in July 2020.
Canada has the highest population of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab in India, and the country has been the site of many demonstrations that have irked India.
The country is also home to one of the largest overseas communities of Indian origin, which number about 1.4 million out of an overall Canadian population of 40 million. About 770,000 people reported Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census.