US-India bilateral ties 'could get worse' amid tiff with Canada over Nijjar's killing, US envoy Garcetti told team: Report
New Delhi: US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has conveyed to his diplomatic team in the country that the relationship between India and the US might face a temporary downturn due to New Delhi's diplomatic conflict with Canada, as per a report in Politico.
An anonymous State Department official stated that Garcetti also mentioned that "the US might have to limit its interactions with Indian officials for an unspecified duration".
The US has asserted that Canada's allegations regarding the potential involvement of Indian government agents in the June killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar are ‘serious’.
It has urged for a detailed investigation into the matter and engaged in discussions with New Delhi, asking for active participation in the probe.
However, a US State Department spokesperson, who did not want to be named, declined to comment on the US ambassador's reported conversation with his team, reported India Today.
"Ambassador Garcetti is a champion of our strong partnership with the Indian people and the Indian government. Our relationship with India is an important, strategic, and consequential partnership," the spokesperson was quoted as assaying by India Today.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on September 18 alleged the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey British Columbia on June 18. India dismissed the allegation, calling it “absurd” and “motivated.”
In 2020, India designated Nijjar as a terrorist. After his name cropped up in several terrorism cases, Nijjar escaped to Canada in 1996.
A media report on September 24 said that the US alerted Khalistani elements against the possible threats to life after Nijjar was killed.
The Intercept reported that Pritpal Singh, a coordinator for the American Sikh Caucus Committee, said three Sikh Americans in California were visited by FBI agents after Nijjar’s killing.
“I was visited by two FBI special agents in late June who told me that they had received information that there was a threat against my life,” said Pritpal Singh. “They did not tell us specifically where the threat was coming from, but they said that I should be careful,” he was quoted as saying by The Intercept.
The two other Sikh Americans, who wished not to be named, also confirmed that FBI agents visited them to alert them against life threats.