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Canada Urges India to Cooperate in Sikh Leader’s Death Investigation

Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair on Sunday called for the Indian government to cooperate on the probe into the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

In an interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Blair said, “The only request we’ve made of our allies and India is that they cooperate fully in that investigation because its outcome is very important.”

“It’s another reason why I place such emphasis on the investigation that’s taking place, that we’d be able to move beyond credible intelligence to evidence, strong evidence of exactly what happened, so that we and the Indian government can know the truth, have the facts and then work together to resolve it in an appropriate way,” the defence minister was quoted as saying.

Blair made the appeal amid a diplomatic spat between Canada and India after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had accused Indian government agents of being behind the murder of Sikh leader Nijjar on Canadian soil.

The Indian government flatly rejected the charge while accusing the Canadian side of providing safe havens to anti-Indian separatists on the Canadian territories. Nijjar, an ardent supporter of the Khalistan independence movement, was killed by unknown assailants in Canada’s British Columbia in June this year.

Amid deepening rift, Canada and India expelled each other’s diplomats and issued travel advisories urging their citizens to exercise “utmost caution” while traveling in the other country. India has suspended visa services for Canadians while Canada has downsized its diplomatic staff in the New Delhi-based diplomatic mission