December 9, 2023

US on Friday urged India to work with Canada. (File)

The Biden administration will likely try to stay out of the diplomatic dispute between Canada and India as much it can, aiming not to disrupt the progress it’s made in its relationship with PM Narendra Modi’s government, the founder of political strategy firm Signum Global Advisors says. “We’re doing everything we can to engage with India to try to help outcompete China, and I don’t think the United States is going to get too involved” in the dispute, Signum Chairman Charles Myers said on BNN Bloomberg Television. Myers, former vice chairman at Evercore, is a longtime Democratic Party donor who has raised money for Biden.

Canada and India relations have been strained over the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot on June 18 in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week there’s “credible” evidence that links the Indian government to the murder of Nijjar. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday urged India to work with Canada in its investigation in the case. “We want to see accountability, and it’s important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result,” he said.

But US and other allies have stopped short of taking any specific retaliatory measures, such as expelling Indian diplomats.

The Indian government, which denied involvement in the killing, has designated Nijjar as a Khalistani terrorist and criticized Trudeau’s government for not doing more to combat “anti-India activities” within the Indian diaspora in Canada.

Canada kicked out a senior Indian diplomat from the country, and India retaliated in a tit-for-tat move. India has suspended visa applications for Canadians, a measure that will choke off business and leisure travel from Canada if it’s kept in place for long.

“For Prime Minister Trudeau to even make these allegations public, he has to have very good intel and evidence, given how serious the allegation is,” said Myers. “If true, it is an example of state-sponsored terrorism on Canadian soil.”

Even so, the US is “going to try to stay out of this,” he said.

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