In tit-for-tat move, India expels Canadian diplomat after PM Trudeau links Delhi to Sikh leader’s murder

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India said on Tuesday it had expelled a Canadian diplomat with five days’ notice to leave the country, just hours after Ottawa expelled the South Asian nation’s top intelligence agent and accused it of a role in the murder of a Sikh separatist leader.

The development was the latest in an escalating row between the two nations, with Canada saying on Monday it was “actively pursuing credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder in British Columbia in June.

The Canadian high commissioner, or ambassador, in New Delhi had been summoned and told of the expulsion decision, India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The decision reflects the government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities,” the ministry added.

“The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days.”

Earlier on Tuesday, India dismissed the Canadian accusation as “absurd and motivated” and urged it instead to take legal action against anti-Indian elements operating from its soil.

shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population. Nijjar supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state and was designated by India as a “terrorist” in July 2020.

“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India” and Nijjar’s death, Trudeau said.

He said he had raised the murder directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi last week, and urged the government of India to “cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter”.

“Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government. Last week at the G20, I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms,” he said.

Canada also expelled India’s top intelligence agent in the country on Monday, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said, without providing details. The Indian high commission in Ottawa did not respond to requests for comment.

“Allegations that a representative of a foreign government may have been involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen here in Canada, on Canadian soil… are totally unacceptable,” Joly said.

“Therefore, today we have expelled a senior Indian diplomat from Canada,” she added without naming the diplomat.

Trudeau’s comments mark a significant escalation in tensions between Canada and the world’s largest democracy, with New Delhi unhappy over Sikh separatist activity in Canada.

Modi conveyed his strong concerns to Trudeau at the G20 summit over recent demonstrations in Canada by Sikhs calling for an independent state.