Nijjar killing row: ‘US provided more specific information than Canada’, says Indian envoy
Sanjay Kumar Verma, India's High Commissioner to Canada, said that the US has shared more specific information regarding the investigation into an alleged assassination attempt than Canada has. He stated that this is likely the reason for the difference in India's level of cooperation in both cases.
Sanjay Kumar Verma, India's High Commissioner to Canada, stated that the Indian government is collaborating with an American inquiry related to an alleged foiled assassination attempt, rather than Canada's investigation into the June killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia due disparities in the information shared between the two nations during their respective investigations.
A recent report by the UK-based Financial Times reported that the United States prevented an alleged plan to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a terrorist designated by India, on American soil. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Financial Times indicated that the US had communicated its concerns about the purported plot to kill Pannun to Indian authorities.
Earlier in September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations regarding India's involvement in Nijjar's killing. India has rejected the allegations and called them “absurd" and politically motivated."
Verma said India was "absolutely" and "decidedly" not involved in the homicide, terming it a “motivated and absurd allegation." The allegations caused diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
“One is that the investigation in the case of the US, as far as I know and understand, because again, I don't oversee India-US relations is at a much advanced stage. And therefore, I presume that there would be better information shared within India," he told CTV News.
The Indian envoy clarified that relations between India and the US are not within his jurisdiction. Nevertheless, he indicated his understanding that Indian authorities are actively collaborating in the American investigation, having been provided with “inputs which are legally presentable."
Discussing Canada's information regarding Nijjar's killing, he mentioned that Indian authorities cannot provide a response on the matter due to the possibility that discussions might include specific details of the case.
Moreover, he emphasized that allegations and facts alone do not make the information specific and pertinent.
Asked whether Canada's national security advisor shared inputs related to allegations related to Nijjar's killing, he said, “Until the time it is not specific or relevant to the case, we will not be able to respond to it. There could be a lot of conversation. Conversations could have allegations, conversations could have some facts of the case, but allegations and facts do not make it specific and relevant."
“So we need to have those facts. And we are always ready to do that. If you look at the most recent incident to where there are some allegations put out in one of the newspapers against India, the US did provide us inputs. And we have already started following up on that," he told CTV News.
Verma stressed that conversations between India and Canada did take place during Canada's National Security Adviser's visit to India. However, he added that India needed specific information to seek permission from legal authorities to conduct an investigation.
Asked whether Canada's National Security Advisor did not share any specific allegation, Sanjay Kumar Verma said, “So conversations took place. But we needed something specific and relevant to go back to our legal authorities to seek permission to do investigation that we would have wanted to do. So until the time that those kinds of inputs are not there, in a country of rule of law, it will not be possible for us to move forward on the investigations."
Revealing details regarding the inputs shared by US with India, Verma said that these inputs are regarding a nexus between gangsters, drug peddlers, terrorists and gun runners in the US and there are beliefs that there are some Indian connections with it, which he stressed were not government of India connections, CTV News reported.
“Those inputs are a nexus between gangsters, drug peddlers, terrorists, and gun runners in the US, and there is a belief that some of the Indian connections -- now when I say Indian connections, I don't mean the government of India connections, there is 1.4 billion people, so some of the Indian connections are there -- they are ready to investigate. Because we have got inputs, which are legally presentable," Verma told CTV News.
On November 22, the Ministry of External Affairs announced that the US had provided information concerning the connection between organized criminals, arms traffickers, terrorists, and others during recent talks on India-US security cooperation.
In response to media inquiries about discussions on security matters between India and the US, the MEA emphasized the seriousness with which India considers such inputs, as they impact its own security interests. The spokesperson noted that the shared information is a matter of concern for both countries, and appropriate follow-up measures are being implemented.
(With inputs from ANI)
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