Tensions have escalated as India has expelled a Canadian diplomat following accusations by Prime Minister Trudeau linking India to the killing of a Sikh individual.

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In a growing diplomatic clash between India and Canada, India has expelled a senior Canadian diplomat, intensifying tensions sparked by Canadian allegations that India may have been involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader near Vancouver.

India has dismissed these accusations as baseless and cited concerns about Canadian diplomats interfering in its internal affairs and engaging in anti-India activities.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has attempted to de-escalate the situation, stating that Canada is not seeking to provoke or escalate tensions. He emphasized the importance of working with India to clarify the situation and ensure a proper investigation.

The allegations arose after Trudeau mentioned “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh leader who was assassinated in Surrey, outside Vancouver, in June. India has long accused Nijjar, a Canadian citizen born in India, of having links to terrorism, an allegation Nijjar denied.

Canada has not yet provided evidence of Indian involvement, but the claim, if proven, would mark a significant development. India’s security and intelligence agencies have been active in South Asia and have been suspected of involvement in various incidents in Pakistan. However, orchestrating a killing in Canada, where there is a substantial Indian diaspora, would be unprecedented.

The diplomatic tension has led to frosty interactions between Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Canada also canceled a planned trade mission to India.

The allegations revolve around Nijjar, who was a leader in the movement for an independent Sikh homeland, known as Khalistan. The Khalistan movement, which led to a decade-long Sikh insurgency in North India during the 1970s and 1980s, has lost political influence but still has supporters, particularly in Punjab and among the overseas Sikh diaspora.

Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities and was working with a group called Sikhs For Justice to organize an unofficial Sikh diaspora referendum on independence from India at the time of his killing.

Canada’s allegations have led to heightened tensions, with India accusing Canada of harboring Sikh separatists. Canada has a significant Sikh population, making up about 2% of its population.

While Canada’s claims have not been substantiated, they have raised eyebrows in India and prompted questions about the evidence and Trudeau’s motives. Some Indian analysts view it as an attempt to appease Canada’s Sikh community.

The diplomatic tensions have broader implications, as both countries are important allies and trading partners. Canada is also seeking a free trade deal with India.

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