India-Canada news LIVE: Tensions between India and Canada have continued to escalate after Justin Trudeau's explosive allegations against India pertaining to the death of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India has reiterated that no Canada has not shared any documents that would prove that the allegations are correct. Besides, the Indian government has also gone further and blasted Canada for supposedly hosting a “nexus of terrorism," serving as a “safe haven" for extremism and organized crime. Meanwhile, Canada's Defence Minister has termed the relationship with India as "important". Blair suggested Canada will continue to pursue those partnerships while the investigation into allegations continues, calling the relationship with India “important."
Here are the latest developments on this BIG story:
India-Canada row: ‘Between India and Canada, the US will choose…', Ex-Pentagon official
Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin said that if the United States has to choose between Canada and India, it will surely choose the latter as the relationship is "too important".
“I suspect that the United States doesn't want to be painted a corner to choose between two friends. But if we have to choose between two friends, increasingly we're going to choose India on this matter, simply because Nijjar was a terrorist, and India is too important. Our relationship is too important," Michael Rubin said.
India-Canada issue: Indian Intelligence reveals shocking details of Hardeep Singh Nijjar
Indian intelligence agencies have claimed that Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar became head of Guru Nanak Gurudwara by threatening his own cousin and the temple’s former president Raghbir Singh Nijjar.
A dossier by Indian Intelligence mentioned that Nijjar was an old associate of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) terrorist Gurdeep Singh aka Deepa Heranwala, who was involved in over 200 killings in Punjab in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was initiated into crime by another gang lord, Gurnek Singh aka Neka.
Nijjar escaped to Canada on a forged passport in the name of “Ravi Sharma" in 1996 and kept a low profile as a truck driver and a plumber, the dossier adds. He came in touch with Pakistan-based KTF chief Jagtar Singh Tara and visited Pakistan under the cover of being a Baisakhi jatha member in April 2012, it says. He was radicalised by Tara and cultivated by the Pakistan spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), with the former imparting him arms and explosives training in 2012 and 2013. The dossier even claims that in 2013, Tara sent the US-based Harjot Singh Birring to Canada to train Nijjar in using a handheld GPS device. In 2015, after the deportation of Jagtar Singh Tara to India from Thailand, Nijjar assumed the role of operations chief of KTF.
By then, there was already an Interpol Red Corner notice against him, according to the dossier. This was issued in November 2014, but he was then granted citizenship despite his request for political asylum being rejected twice by the Canadian immigration authorities.
After assuming charge of KTF in Canada, Nijjar was actively involved in spotting, networking, training, funding, and operationalizing KTF module members according to the dossier, which lists his activities.
Nijjar had 10 FIRs against him in India.
India-Canada row LIVE: 'Justin Trudeau is short-sighted'
On allegations by Canada, Michael Rubin, former Pentagon official and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute said, "Justin Trudeau was very short-sighted, and no one should trade, their short-term political convenience for the long-term relationship with the world's largest democracy".
India-Canada conflict not to impact proposed free trade pact, says expert
Experts have pointed out that the talks for a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Canada may have taken a pause but will resume once the political row between the two countries is resolved.
However, they said that India may not hurry for the trade agreement as 60% of New Delhi's exports are already entering Canada at zero duty.
In March last year, the two countries re-launched negotiations for an interim agreement, officially dubbed as Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA).
Over half a dozen rounds of talks have been held between the two countries on the trade pact so far.
In such agreements, two countries significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. They also liberalise norms for promoting trade in services and attracting investments.
"I do not think that the current diplomatic row would impact the resumption of FTA talks. It would resume after the differences between the countries will settle down," international trade expert Biswajit Dhar said.
Indian industry was looking at duty-free access for products like textiles and leather besides easy visa norms for the movement of professionals. Canada has interests in areas like dairy and agricultural products.
The bilateral trade between the countries has increased to $8.16 billion in 2022-23 from $7 billion in 2021-22.
India-Canada conflict LIVE: Modi govt stops new visas for Canadians
The Indian government has suspended new visas for Canadians. Besides amid the tensions flaring between the two nations, India has asked Canada to reduce its diplomatic presence in the country. A blanket suspension of new visas by India for a Western country is unheard of and marks the lowest point of India-Canada relations.
The announcement came hours after Canada's high commission in India said it would temporarily "adjust" staff presence in the country after some diplomats received threats on social media platforms.
India-Canada row LIVE: Govt extends consular services for Indian nationals
The Consulate General of India in Toronto has extended consular services, including passport issuance, attestation, police clearance certificate and passport renewal for Indian citizens in Canada.
India-Canada tension LIVE: Here's what US said
A top US official has said that America is deeply concerned about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of India's potential involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the US has engaged directly with the Indian government on the issue and that the most productive thing would be the completion of this investigation.
"We've been engaged directly with the Indian government as well. And again, I think the most productive thing that can happen now is to see this investigation move forward (and) be completed. And we would hope that our Indian friends would cooperate with that investigation as well," the Secretary of State said.
He said the US is "extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression" and takes them "very, very seriously".
"And I think it's important more broadly for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts (does) not do so. So it's something that we're also focused on in a much broader way," Blinken said. Read more here
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