Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat on Monday after it alleged a "potential link" between the agents of India and the death of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down on June 18 in British Columbia.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an emergency statement to the House of Commons that any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen was "an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty".
"Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and Nijjar's death," Trudeau said. The Prime Minister said he raised the murder directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi last week and urged the government of India to "cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter".
"Canada has declared its deep concerns to the top intelligence and security officials of the Indian government. Last week at the G20, I brought them personally and directly to Prime Minister Modi in no uncertain terms," he said.
Trudeau said some members of the Indo-Canadian community were feeling angry and threatened.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada has been expelled as a consequence. "If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other," Joly said. "As a consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat."
An active homicide investigation in this regard is being led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Trudeau has also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said several senior Canadian government officials had visited India recently to express Ottawa's concerns.
The Indian Embassy in Ottawa has not responded to the developments.
The development will come as a further blow to the worsening bilateral ties as India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed strong concerns about Khalistani protests in Canada against India to Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20.
The recent developments also saw the trade deal between Canada and India stalling, with Canada citing "certain political developments." Canada's bilateral trade in 2022 amounted to just C$13.7 billion out of a total of C$1.52 trillion.
Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a strong supporter of an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, was gunned down outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia. Canada is home to an influential Sikh community amounting to 1.4 million out of an overall Canadian population of 40 million. About 770,000 people reported Sikhism as their religion in the 2021 census.