Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said that Canada is not looking to provoke India as he urged the Indian government to take killing of separatist Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar seriously.
The Canadian government on September 19 expelled a top Indian diplomat and accused India of having links to the killing of Khalistani separatist Nijjar. However, India refused such claims and called the move «absurd and motivated.»
India also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat action after Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official over the case, marking fresh tensions to the already frayed bilateral ties.
Canadian High Commissioner to India Cameron MacKay was summoned and he was informed about the decision to expel the senior diplomat with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) saying the move reflects New Delhi's growing concern at the «interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities».
In a strongly-worded statement, the MEA also trashed comments by Trudeau and Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, asserting that «such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India's sovereignty and territorial integrity».
Though New Delhi did not divulge the name of the Canadian diplomat who has been asked to leave India within five days, people familiar with the matter said it is Canadian intelligence agency's station chief in New Delhi Olivier Sylvestere.
The Indian action to expel the Canadian diplomat came hours after Joly announced that a «top Indian diplomat» has been expelled from Canada.