India told Canada it must remove 41 of its 62 diplomats from the country following continued escalating tensions between the countries.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian agents were behind the June assassination of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver. Trudeau’s allegations, despite no arrests being made in the murder case, set off condemnation from India, which dismissed the accusations.
India expelled a Canadian diplomat in September and is now requiring many more to leave.
An official who spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity confirmed the report that dozens of Canadian diplomats have been ordered to leave India. Trudeau could not confirm the number of diplomats told to leave India but said Canada is not trying to escalate tensions with the country.
“Obviously, we are going through an extremely challenging time with India right now, but that’s why it is so important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government and there to support Canadians and Canadian families,” Trudeau told the AP. “We’re taking this extremely seriously, but we’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the Indian government.”
The official told the AP that Indian officials and diplomats in Canada were communicating and that some information about the murder was provided by a member of the “Five Eyes,” an intelligence-sharing alliance that comprises the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The tensions between the countries have put the U.S. in a difficult situation. The U.S. is reportedly working closely with Canada to investigate the murder. President Biden has not commented on the allegations.
The Biden administration has been friendly with India in an attempt to work against China. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with India’s foreign minister. U.S. officials have been warned against casting blame for the murder, weighing its involvement with each country.
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