Home World News Justin Trudeau says allegations against India made public for 'extra deterrence'

Justin Trudeau says allegations against India made public for 'extra deterrence'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that his decision to make allegations in public about a possible Indian government link and the killing of a pro-Khalistan separatist was intended to “put a chill” on them from repeating a similar action.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Trudeau’s allegations on September 18 of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18 in British Columbia. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

India rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”.

In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press news agency, Trudeau said he decided to make the announcement on September 18 because he expected that information would be eventually leaked through the media.

The prime minister said the message he delivered in the House of Commons that day was intended as an “extra level of deterrence” to keep Canadians safer.

Trudeau said his public statement came after weeks of “quiet diplomacy” that included raising the allegations with India at the highest levels.

“We knew it would be difficult conversations, but we also knew that this was an important moment for India to be demonstrating its leadership on the world stage with the G20,” Trudeau said. “And we felt that we could use that as a constructive opportunity to work together.”

“Too many Canadians were worried that they were vulnerable,” Trudeau said.

“We felt that all the quiet diplomacy and all the measures that we put in — and ensured that our security services put in to keep people safe in the community — needed a further level of deterrence, perhaps of saying publicly and loudly that we know, or we have credible reasons to believe, that the Indian government was behind this,” he said. “And therefore put a chill on them continuing or considering doing anything like this.”

Trudeau also said Canada warned India that what it knew would eventually come out and that while Ottawa had managed to keep things “on a diplomatic level” leading up to the G20 summit, it could not control much beyond that.

In the interview, Trudeau said Canada intends to reveal evidence very much in the fashion the US did when “we reach those points in the investigation.”

But he noted that US authorities started their investigation into attempted murder earlier.

“Canada is investigating a murder and there are different stakes involved in that and our justice system has different processes,” he said. “But that is unfolding.”

Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha that Canada has not shared any specific evidence or inputs with India.

Days after Trudeau’s allegations in September, India temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity.

India resumed some visa services in Canada last month, more than a month after they were suspended.