Canada on Wednesday pressed India to cooperate in an investigation of the murder of a Sikh separatist in British Columbia after the U.S. revealed it had foiled an assassination attempt against a Sikh separatist on its soil.
The U.S. Justice Department said earlier on Wednesday it was charging a 52-year-old man who had worked with an Indian government employee on a plot to assassinate a New York City resident who advocated for a Sikh sovereign state in northern India.
The U.S. charges come about two months after Canada said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb, in June. India has rejected that allegation.
“The news coming out of the United States further underscores what we’ve been talking about from the very beginning, which is that India needs to take this seriously,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.
“The Indian government needs to work with us to ensure that we’re getting to the bottom of this,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly urged India to be more forthcoming in the ongoing murder investigation. Canadian authorities have yet to charge anyone for the killing of Nijjar.
Referring to the Indian government, Joly told reporters: “Clearly we expect more cooperation on their part and more engagement on their part.”
Both the United States and Canada are looking to build better ties with India to counter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region, and the allegations undermine that effort.
Neither New Delhi nor Ottawa looks likely to take dramatic steps to reconcile soon as Canada’s murder investigation proceeds and Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for Indian national elections by May.