U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” about allegations that India had a role in the death of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia and that it wanted to see accountability for the incident.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told the country’s parliament on Monday that there were reasons to believe agents of the Government of India were involved in killing Mr Nijjar in June this year. The government has denied the allegations.
“It would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation,” Mr. Blinken told reporters at a press briefing in New York on Friday. “We want to see accountability and it’s important that the investigation run its course and lead to that to that result.”
World leaders and diplomats have gathered in the city for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The U.S. was not just consulting with the Canadians, but cooperating with them in the investigation, according to the Secretary.
“I think the most productive thing that can happen now is to see this investigation move forward, be completed,” he said adding that he hoped that “our Indian friends” would cooperate.
Directly engaging with India
Questioned on the nature of U.S. engagement with India on the matter, Mr. Blinken did not want to get into specifics, saying instead that the U.S. government had been directly engaging the Indian government on the issue.
Mr. Blinken made the larger point that the U.S. was very vigilant about alleged instances of “transnational repression” and called on countries not to engage in it.
“We are extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, “ he said, adding that the U.S. took it “very, very seriously”.
“And I think it’s important, more broadly, for the international system, that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not to not do so,” he said.
Mr. Trudeau, who was in New York on Thursday, had again stated his allegation, saying India’s alleged role in the killing of a Canadian in Canada was “of the utmost and foundational importance in a country of rule of law, in a world where international rules-based order matters”.