The rift between Canada and India over the assassination of Khalistan Leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar -- whom India has declared a separatist and a terrorist -- has deepened with New Delhi expelling a Canadian diplomat and issuing a warning to its citizens against travelling to Canada.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped a bombshell by stating that investigations by Canadian security agencies had found possible links between Nijjar's murder outside a Gurudwara in Vancouver and India. Ottawa subsequently expelled India's resident spy chief.
India responded to that move with outrage and the expulsion of a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, "completely rejected" Trudeau's allegations.
"Allegations of Government of India's involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd," the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.
On Wednesday, however, India continued to simmer in anger, issuing a travel advisory to its citizens against visiting parts of Canada.
In the advisory, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said it was concerned for the safety of its citizens in Canada because of 'politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence".
"In view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution. Recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents."
India issues advisory for Indian nationals and students in Canada— ANI (@ANI) September 20, 2023
"In view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution.… pic.twitter.com/G6cmhSuGfb
'Do not want escalation'
Meanwhile, Canada and the US have advised against an escalation and urged India to cooperate.
In a statement to the media after New Delhi's reaction, Trudeau said they made the disclosure after careful consideration.
"India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness," he said.
"We are doing that, we are not looking to provoke or escalate."
Meanwhile, the US, in Washington and in India, have called on New Delhi to cooperate and clear the matter.
Sikhs want justice
Meanwhile, the Sikh community in Canada and elsewhere in the world have called on the Canadian authorities to ensure that all those involved in Nijjar's murder are brought to book.
Mukhbir Singh, a representative of the global Sikh body, said that they were not surprised given that they have been subject to Indian espionage for years.
Nijjar's son Balraj hoped the Canadian authorities would find those responsible for his father's murder.
The Sikh community in Canada have declared Nijjar the first martyr for the Khalistan movement in the North American country.