Ties with India ‘could get worse’ due to Canada row, US envoy told team: Report

Eric Garcetti, US Ambassador to India, has warned of worsening of India-US relations due to the diplomatic row with Canada following the killing of terrorist Hardeep Sigh Nijjar.

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti told his team in the country that relations between India and the US “could get worse for a time” due to New Delhi’s diplomatic spat with Canada, according to a report in Politico.

According to an unnamed State Department official, Garcetti also said that “the US may need to reduce its contacts with Indian officials for an undefined period of time”.

The US has said that Canada’s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June are “serious” and has called for a full investigation. It has also said that it has discussed the matter with New Delhi and has urged it to participate actively in the probe.

When asked about the US envoy’s reported conversation with his team, a State Department spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that “We don’t have anything for you on this”.

“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 added.

Ties between India and Canada have been under strain for the past few months with New Delhi flagging increased activities and threats by pro-Khalistani elements in the North American country.

Things came to a head after Trudeau’s allegations against India in the Canadian parliament .

India has rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”. It also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Ottawa expelled an Indian official.

On September 21, India asked Canada to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country as relations between the two countries plunged to an all-time low following Ottawa’s allegations against New Delhi.

India also announced temporarily suspending the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens.

Nijjar was shot dead by two masked gunmen on June 18 in British Columbia. India had designated him a terrorist in 2020.

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