Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday responded to a congratulatory message from his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau underscoring New Delhi’s intent to collaborate with Ottawa based on mutual understanding and respect for each other’s concerns. The exchange comes against the backdrop of recent diplomatic tension in India-Canada relations. 

“Thank you @CanadianPM for the congratulatory message. India looks forward to working with Canada based on mutual understanding and respect for each other’s concerns,” Modi stated in a post on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter).

India-Canada Diplomatic Tensions

The diplomatic strain between the two nations intensified following Trudeau’s allegations in September last year, accusing Indian agents of potential involvement in the assassination of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia. New Delhi dismissed Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd.”

In his message on June 6, Trudeau reiterated Canada’s readiness to work with the new Indian government, provided their cooperation is anchored in human rights, diversity, and the rule of law. “Congratulations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his electoral victory. Canada stands ready to work with his government to advance the relationship between our nations’ peoples anchored to human rights, diversity, and the rule of law,” the Canadian prime minister remarked.

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India has consistently highlighted that the core issue in bilateral relations is the sanctuary provided to pro-Khalistani elements in Canada, who operate with impunity. There have been several instances of pro-Khalistani factions threatening Indian diplomats.

In the wake of Trudeau’s accusations last year, India demanded that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity. Consequently, Canada withdrew 41 diplomats and their family members from India.

Nijjar, designated a terrorist by India, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18 last year. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are currently investigating the murder.

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