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US-India ties could get worse due to row over Sikh leader’s murder in Canada: official

Then-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during the opening of the Terminal 1 expansion at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California on June 4, 2021. — AFP

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti alerted his staff in India that due to New Delhi’s diplomatic spat with Canada, US-Indian relations “could get worse for a time,” a report published in Politico said.

Garcetti added that “the US may need to reduce its contacts with Indian officials for an unknown period of time,” according to an unidentified State Department official cited by the US publication.

The US has said that it deems Canada’s allegations of Indian government agents’ “potential” involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, serious and has urged for the matter to be fully investigated.

When asked about the US envoy’s reported conversation with his team, a State Department spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “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.

The ties between the two US allies are strained due involvement of the Indian government’s agents in the murder of the Sikh leader murder, triggering an international outcry.

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.

A few weeks ago, India urged 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.

Adding to the series of events highlighting its sour relations with Canada, India also announced a temporary suspension of the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens.

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