Following allegations leveled by Canadian Prime Minister regarding the involvement of the Indian government in the assassination of a prominent Sikh leader and a Canadian citizen, Britain stated that it would continue trade talks with India.
According to Reuters, Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesperson while speaking to reporters on Tuesday reaffirmed that Canada and Britain were in contact with the "serious allegations," but insisted that it would not affect negotiations for a trade agreement with India.
The spokesperson said, “Work on the trade negotiations will continue as before. The Canadian authorities will now conduct their work and I'm not going to preempt them.”
He further added, “When we have concerns about countries we are negotiating trade deals with, we will raise them directly with the government concerned. But with regards to the current negotiations with India, these are negotiations about a trade deal, and we're not looking to conflate them with other issues.”
On the other hand, world leaders expressed their ‘deep concerns’ on the accusations leveled against India. The White House is "deeply concerned" about the accusations, said a spokesman for the National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, according to CNN.
“We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” Watson said.
Australia also said that they were “deeply concerned”, according to a spokesperson who said, “We are closely engaged with partners on developments. We have conveyed our concerns at senior levels to India.”
Further, the United Kingdom is also in ‘close touch’ with the Canadian partners after the allegations cropped up, reports said on Tuesday.
“We are in close touch with our Canadian partners about these serious allegations. It would be inappropriate to comment further during the ongoing investigation by the Canadian authorities," a UK government spokesperson told ANI.
Notably, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader in British Columbia, was fatally shot in his truck in June by two masked gunmen outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, BC. His assassination shocked and angered the sizable Sikh community in Canada, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands. India had previously designated Nijjar as a terrorist threat, associating him with a Sikh separatist movement.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, confirmed the expulsion of the Indian diplomat and revealed that the individual in question is the head of the Indian intelligence agency in Canada. Joly emphasized that Canada is committed to uncovering the truth behind Nijjar's assassination.
In a statement, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) termed the allegations as ‘absurd ‘and ‘motivated’.
The official statement of the MEA said, “We have seen and rejected the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister. Allegations of the Indian government’s “involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated.”