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India needs to take this seriously: Trudeau on US charge


India needs to take this seriously: Trudeau on US chargeNovember 30, 2023New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) Hours after the US charged an Indian national with conspiracy to assassinate a New York-based Sikh separatist, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that New Delhi needs to take the charge “seriously” and cooperate in the investigations. Trudeau, who had been claiming since September that Indian agents were involved in the killing of its citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar, told CBC News that they have been working closely with their American counterparts on the “serious” allegations. “The news coming out of the US further underscores what we’ve been talking about from the very beginning, which is… India needs to take this seriously,” Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday. “The Indian government needs to work with us to ensure that we’re getting to the bottom of this. This is not something that anyone can take lightly,” he added. The Prime Minister further said that his responsibility is to keep “Canadians safe, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do”. The US prosecutors on Wednesday announced murder-for-hire charges against Indian national Nikhil Gupta for involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate a US citizen allegedly on behalf of an Indian government employee. Neither the “government employee”, nor Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, were named in the document. Pannun was only identified as a “US citizen” The indictment alleged that the Indian government employee recruited Gupta in or around May 2023 to assassinate Pannun — a designated terrorist in India. Gupta, in turn, got in touch with a man he believed to be a “criminal associate” but was actually a confidential source of the US Drug Enforcement Agency. India has constituted a high-level inquiry committee to look into the security concerns raised by the US government. As for Canada, High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma said this month that neither Ottawa nor its allies have shown “concrete evidence” backing Trudeau’s allegations. In an interview with a Canadian journalist last week, Verma reiterated that India is only asking for specific and relevant information “so that we can help the Canadian investigators to reach their conclusion”. –IANS mi/ksk

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