Trudeau says not seeking to ‘provoke’ India, a country of ‘growing importance’

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at a press conference at UN Sept. 21, 2023, on the India-Canada tension. PHOTO: videograb CPAC YouTube

Saying that “India is a country of growing importance,” Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Ottawa was not seeking to provoke India or have a confrontation with it.

However, he refused to share evidence behind his allegations that India was involved in Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing.

Speaking at a news conference at the United Nations on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, he said, “We are not looking to provoke or cause problems [with India].”

“There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with. Not just in the region but around the world,” he said.

“But we are unequivocal around the importance of the rule of law and unequivocal about the importance of protecting Canadians and standing up for our values,”, he said.

And that is why Canada was asking India to work with it “to establish processes to discover and to uncover the truth of the matter and to allow justice and accountability to be served.”

India has vehemently denied the allegations first made by Trudeau in parliament on Monday.

Three months on, there have been no arrests in the shooting of Nijjar on June 18 outside a Sikh center in Surrey in British Columbia province.

He called for “calm” and said that Canada was a safe country.

Trudeau avoided directly answering repeated questions by reporters about the evidence he had, asserting that the justice processes should continue with integrity.

“There are credible allegations that we need to take extremely seriously as Canadians and indeed as a world,” he said.

“I can assure you the decision to share these allegations on the floor of the House of Commons Monday … was done with the utmost seriousness.” he said.

“I think it’s extremely important that as a country with a strong and independent justice system, we allow those justice processes to unfold themselves with the utmost integrity,” he said.

FILE PHOTO: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) extends his hand for a handshake with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

He said that he had “a direct and frank conversation with the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi], in which I shared my concerns in no uncertain terms.”

Asked about the suspension of visa services by India, he indicated that there would be no reciprocal action right now.

He said, “We are going to continue to do the work necessary to keep Canadians safe and to uphold our values and the international rules-based order. That’s our focus right now.”

People of Indian origin who are not Sikh and Hindu organizations have expressed fears for their safety in Canada after allegedly receiving threats, and Indian diplomatic missions have come under threat.

A reporter asked him if he had asked other leaders to condemn India, while another compared the solid support that Canada got from its Western allies when Canadian citizens were held by China with the tepid response to his allegations about India.

Trudeau only said, “We are ensuring that Canadians stay protected and that we stand up for the international rules-based order. That is something that we are doing and it’s something we are doing alongside our allies.”



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