India, Canada expel diplomats as ties sour over Sikh murder

© Chris Helgren/Reuters

India has expelled a Canadian diplomat, a day after Canada did the same to an Indian diplomat amid tensions over the killing of a Sikh separatist in Surrey.

India said Tuesday it had asked a Canadian diplomat to leave the country within five days. Media identified him as Olivier Sylvestere, Ottawa’s intelligence chief in Delhi.

“The decision reflects the government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities," the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, Ottawa gave the marching orders to an Indian diplomat in connection with the 18 June killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, which is home to a large Sikh community.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told parliament Monday that Indian agents allegedly killed the separatist activist on Canadian soil.

“Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen,” said Trudeau, who depends on the support of Canada’s 800,000 Sikhs, who make up two percent of the population, to stay in power.

“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the government of India… to get to the bottom of this matter," he said.

Murder, he said

Trudeau said he had brought up the matter in talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 summit in Delhi earlier this month.

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