NEW DELHI: New Delhi on Tuesday rejected “absurd” accusations by the Canadian government that Indian agents were involved in the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader in June.
“Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated,“ New Delhi’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The row is sending already strained relations between the world's most populous country and G7 member Canada to a new low.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told an emergency parliament session that his government had “credible allegations” linking Indian agents to the slaying of an exiled Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia.
It was an “unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”, he said.
Ottawa's foreign minister Melanie Jolie said an Indian diplomat had been expelled, identifying them as the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's foreign intelligence agency, in Canada.
Nijjar, a Sikh separatist whom India had declared a wanted terrorist -- he had denied the charges -- was shot dead near Vancouver.
The foreign ministry in New Delhi insisted: “We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law.”
It said Trudeau -- who visited New Delhi this month for the G20 summit -- had already made similar allegations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and they had been “completely rejected”.
The accusations “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”, it added.
Canada has the largest Sikh population outside India and New Delhi accuses Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the activities of nationalists who seek a separate Sikh homeland in northern India and elsewhere. - AFP