US urges India to 'fully cooperate' with Canada's probe of slain Sikh leader
WASHINGTON - The White House urged India on Wednesday to "fully cooperate" with Canada's investigation into a Sikh separatist leader's apparent assassination on Canadian soil.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by allegations put forward by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that New Delhi was complicit in the killing of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
"We believe that that investigation should proceed, of course, unimpeded. The facts should take the investigators where they may, and the perpetrators of this attack need to be brought to justice," Anadolu Agency quoted Kirby as saying during a virtual briefing.
"We're coordinating and we're consulting with Canada closely on this issue as you might expect. It's a very serious matter."
"We encourage India to fully cooperate. We urge them to fully cooperate," he added, denying reports that the Biden administration rebuffed Canada following Trudeau's announcement.
Relations between Ottawa and New Delhi have hit rock bottom after Trudeau asserted that India had a hand in Nijjar's death with both nations expelling senior diplomats.
The row concerns the June 18 murder of Nijjar, who was gunned down in front of a Sikh temple in Surrey in the Canadian West Coast province of British Columbia. No arrests have been made.
New Delhi considered Nijjar a terrorist as he was a vocal supporter of a break-away independent Khalistani state in the Punjab region. His supporters rejected the terrorist label. India has dismissed the claims of responsibility as "absurd."
Trudeau made the unprecedented declaration Monday as he told the Canadian Parliament that there was "credible” evidence that India was complicit in the murder. The day after, he urged New Delhi to take the allegation "seriously."
India’s Ministry of External Affairs has rejected the claims as "unsubstantiated allegations." - BERNAMA