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US wary of potential rift with India over Canada’s allegations – Politico

The American envoy to India has reportedly told his team that Washington may “need to reduce” contacting New Delhi officials

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has told his team that relations between New Delhi and Washington could get worse for some time, Politico reported, citing unnamed officials.

Garcetti has also reportedly conveyed to his team that they might have to cut back on contacting Indian officials for a little while, as some members of Joe Biden’s administration supposedly believe that its relationship with the Indian government may hit a rough patch “in the near term.”

The development comes amid an escalating diplomatic row between India and Canada over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation that “agents of the Indian government” may be linked to the assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, Canada in June.  


While the New York Times has reported that Washington provided intel that helped fuel Trudeau’s accusation, the White House – traditionally Canada’s biggest ally – has remained largely silent on the issue as it attempts to court India amid China’s ever-growing influence in the region. White House officials have therefore expressed their concern over the allegations while urging India to cooperate in the investigation. A State Department spokesperson told Politico that the relationship the US had with India was “an important, strategic, and consequential partnership.” 

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India's foreign minister S. Jaishankar meets counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington on September 28, 2023
US raised Canada’s murder allegation with India – Reuters

During his recent visit to Washington, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held separate meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, with whom he discussed the ongoing row with Canada.

Speaking at a discussion organized by the Hudson Institute, Jaishankar “noted that he had heard US views and assessments of the India-Canada situation in those discussions,” The Hindu reported. Blinken later said that he had urged his Indian counterpart “to work with Canada to investigate the killing.” So far, Canada has not publicly presented any evidence to support Trudeau’s claims, which New Delhi denied and called “absurd.


The friction with Canada notwithstanding, Jaishankar has on several occasions maintained that India’s ties with the US are strong. “Our relationship is at an all-time high,” Jaishankar recently declared at an event hosted by the Indian Embassy in Washington. “But, as they say in America, you ain’t seen anything yet. We are going to take this relationship to a different level.” He also suggested that, like Chandrayaan, India’s lunar probe that made a historic landing on the Moon in August, the US-India relationship would “go to the moon and even beyond.

READ MORE: India tells Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomats – FT

If Garcetti has warned his colleagues about potential friction with India, it did not show at an event in New Delhi on Wednesday, where he said he was “proud” to see the US and India “working together for a more peaceful world, declaring that “the great minds in India and the great minds in the United States can work to find more paths to peace.”

October 06, 2023 at 08:22AM


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