October 4, 2023
NEW DELHI – Hours after Indian government asked 41 Canadian diplomats to leave the country, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday said that he is not looking to escalate the situation and want to be on the ground in India. Trudeau stated that Ottawa will continue to engage with new Delhi in a responsible and constructive manner.
“Canada is not looking not looking to escalate situation with India… we will continue to engage responsibly and constructively with New Delhi,” Trudeau was quoted as sayin by news agency Reuters.
“We want to be on the ground in India to help Canadian families there,” he added.
His remarks came hours after reports suggested that New Delhi has asked Ottawa to withdraw 41 of its diplomats and threatened to revoke their diplomatic immunity if they stayed after October 10.
The development comes in the backdrop of a massive diplomatic row erupted between India and Canada over the killing of a Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Trudeau had earlier last month accused Indian government agents of a role in the June 18 killing of Nijjar, a Canadian citizen. He was killed by two masked gunmen in the parking lot of a Surrey Gurudwara in British Columbia.
India vehemently rejected Canadian allegations terming them “absurd and politically driven”. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had accused Canadian diplomats of interfering in India’s internal matters and asked Ottawa to have parity in its diplomatic strength.
Canada has a total of 62 diplomats posted in its High Commission and consulate offices across India. The government has asked Ottawa to reduce that strength by 41.