More than two weeks after the bilateral ties between India and Canada hit unprecedented lows over the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canadian side has offered to mend the strained relationship.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Tuesday said that the country wants “private talks with India to resolve a diplomatic dispute”.
What the minister said
“We are in contact with the government of India. We take Canadian diplomats’ safety very seriously, and we will continue to engage privately because we think diplomatic conversations are best when they remain private,” Joly was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The minister’s comments came after it was reported that India had asked Canada to repatriate 41 of its 62 diplomatic staff in the country by October 10.
Canada has so far not officially acknowledged that India has asked the country to reduce its diplomatic staff.
How Canada has changed its tone
This is the second major backpedalling by Canada in recent days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s explosive allegations linking Indian agents to the killing of Nijjar in June.
Last week, Trudeau himself had said that his country is “very serious” about building closer ties with India.
Trudeau said that he thinks it is “extremely important” that Canada and its allies continue to engage “constructively and seriously” with India, given its growing importance on the world stage.
“India is a growing economic power and important geopolitical player. And as we presented with our Indo-Pacific strategy just last year, we’re very serious about building closer ties with India,” he had said.
What caused the rift
The bilateral ties between India and Canada, home to around 1.4 million people of Indian origin, hit its lowest point last month over the killing of Nijjar, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside a gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia, in June.
Canadian PM Trudeau triggered the controversy after he told the Parliament that there were credible arguments to link Indian agents to the killing of Nijjar.
India, which termed the allegations abuse, has demanded that Canada should produce evidence to back its claims, which it has not done yet.
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