Did India assassinate a Canadian in Canada?

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau told parliament yesterday (Monday) there were “credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.”

Nijjar was a prominent Sikh separatist who was shot dead outside a Vancouver-area temple in June. His killing remains unsolved, though Canadian authorities said last month they’d identified a getaway car.

Sikhism is a religious minority making up 58% of the Indian state of Punjab, where a violent Sikh separatist movement erupted in the 1980s. India quashed the movement and has long labelled it a national security threat, but some voices (particularly abroad) still call for a separate Sikh state.

The largest Sikh community outside Punjab is actually in Canada, a fact that’s long shaped India-Canada ties: India accuses Canada of not doing enough to quell Sikh separatism, while Canada accuses India of interference.

It all played out last week at the G20, where Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s concerns, while Trudeau privately raised the allegation about Nijjar’s assassination. He’s now gone public with the claim, which India has rejected.

Intrigue’s take: It’s worth just repeating the allegation here: that the world’s largest democracy and 2023 G20 host was involved in an extrajudicial and extraterritorial assassination of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil.

You’d want to be confident going public with an explosive claim like this. We’ve not seen any evidence yet and, given it’s reportedly intel-sourced, we may never see conclusive evidence.

In the meantime, Trudeau has already briefed his US, UK, and French counterparts, who’ll now be reflecting on their own approach to India: the West has increasingly courted it as a way to balance China, but these allegations, true or not, will bolster those who’ve been urging caution.

Also worth noting:

  • The US and Australia have both said they’re “deeply concerned” by the allegations. The UK has said it’s in “close touch” with Canada.
  • India designated Mr Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
  • Air India flight 182 from Canada to India blew up off the Irish coast in 1985, killing all 329 people on board. A Sikh man acquitted over the bombing was shot dead in the same Vancouver region last year.
Latest Author Articles
The world watches as major US aid package moves to the House for a showdown

After a bruising five months of negotiations, the US Senate passed a $95B aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan just before sunrise on Tuesday (local time), in a 70-29 vote.

14 February, 2024
Israel extends offensive into crowded Rafah city

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) launched a raid on the Gazan city of Rafah in the early hours of yesterday (Monday) morning, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed there were four Hamas battalions in the city.

13 February, 2024
How to make sense of Tucker Carlson’s Putin interview

US pundit Tucker Carlson released his highly-anticipated yet controversial interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night (US time).

12 February, 2024
US strikes hit Iran-linked targets in Syria and Iraq

The US struck various targets across Syria and Iraq on Friday night (local time), in what President Biden described as the beginning of his response to the drone attack that killed three US troops the weekend prior.

5 February, 2024