Shared intel informed Trudeau's India claim -CTV
STORY: Amid an intensifying diplomatic standoff between India and Canada, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada confirmed that "shared intelligence" had informed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the possible involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of a Canadian citizen.
That's according to a CTV News interview to be aired on Sunday with U.S. Ambassador David Cohen, who said the intelligence came from the Five Eyes network which includes the U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Cohen told CTV News: "There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that's as far as I'm comfortable going."
Tensions between India and Canada escalated after Trudeau said there were "credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Vancouver, prompting an angry reaction from India, which denies the allegation.
Nijjar, who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in June, had been campaigning for the creation of an independent Sikh homeland called "Khalistan." India had designated him as a "terrorist."
The two countries have since announced tit-for-tat expulsions of senior diplomats as well as tit-for-tat travel advisories, and India has suspended new visas for Canadians.
Kugelman: "There was no way that India was just going to sit on its hands after these explosive allegations."
Michael Kugelman is the director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center.
"Of course the best way to resolve it, the most ideal way - which is probably the least likely way to resolve it - is for India to agree to cooperate with Canada in Canada's investigation of this assassination. That has been Canada's core consistent demand from day one. But you know, India has, as I understand it, not been willing to do so. Whether that's because it feels it has something to hide? Or it doesn't trust Canada or what we don't know."
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged India to work with Canada on the investigation into possible involvement of Indian government agents in Nijjar's murder.
"From our perspective, it is critical that the Canadian investigation proceed. And it would be important that India work with the Canadians on this investigation. We want to see accountability. And it's important that the investigation run its course and lead to that result."
Blinken is the most senior U.S. official to have commented on the diplomatic dispute.
The U.S. and other traditional Canadian allies have so far taken a cautious approach to the matter, as political experts said this was partly because the U.S. and other major players see India as a counterweight to the growing influence of China.
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