Washington DC [US], September 23 (ANI): Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin has said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a huge mistake by alleging that India had links with the killing of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar and said that the premier has not been able to back his allegations.
“Prime Minister Trudeau I think has made a huge mistake. He has made allegations in a manner which he hasn’t been able to back. Either he was shooting from the hip and he doesn’t have the evidence to support the accusations he made against the government. There is something there, in which case he needs to explain why this government was sheltering a terrorist,” the former Pentagon official said when asked about his views on the Canadian PM’s allegations against the Indian government.
Trudeau had on Monday inside Canada’s Parliament accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Nijjar.
Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.
On Friday the Canadian PM said that Ottawa had shared allegations regarding the killing of Nijjar with India weeks ago.
While addressing a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Trudeau said, “In regards to India, Canada has shared the credible allegations that I talked about on Monday. With India, we did that many weeks ago. We are there to work constructively with India and we hope that they engage with us so that we can get to the bottom of this very serious matter.”
Rubin who is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he specializes in Iran, Turkey, and South Asia, said: “As a former consumer of intelligence, I can say that oftentimes the intelligence we see whether it’s a telephone intercept or something else, isn’t as black and white, isn’t as cut and dry. I mean, certainly, that was the case with regard to the Iraq War.”
He further added: “So when you have a situation like this, perhaps Prime Minister Trudeau raised the issue, but there wasn’t necessarily consensus on what he meant. And regardless, let’s not fool ourselves, Nijjar was not simply a plumber, any more than Osama bin Laden was a construction engineer. He had blood on his hands from multiple attacks.”
On US State Secretary Antony Blinken’s remarks that the US always stands against transnational repression, the former Pentagon official said: “We’re actually being hypocritical if Secretary Blinken makes that statement, because after all, what we’re talking about isn’t transnational repression. We’re talking about transnational terrorism, and what the United States did to Qasem Soleimani…is really no different than what India is alleged to have done in this case.”
Blinken on Friday (local time) said that Washington is “deeply concerned” about the allegations made by Trudeau about the Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Nijjar. He said that the US wants to see accountability and called it “important” that the investigation runs its course and leads to the result.
“More broadly, you’ve heard me speak to this. We are extremely vigilant about any instances of alleged transnational repression, something we take very, very seriously. And I think it’s important more broadly for the international system that any country that might consider engaging in such acts not do so. So, it’s something that we’re also focused on in a much broader way,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rubin said he is not sure that allies are convinced with Trudeau’s theory, or that they interpret the importance of the matter to the same degree that Justin Trudeau does.
“First of all, let’s give one analogy. When Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul, the Turks were able to provide intelligence support right away, which is why the world rallied around Saudi Arabia. In this case, but Justin Trudeau again, the Canadians haven’t been able to release any definitive intelligence and as time goes on, it raises the question about whether there’s any truth,” he said.
He further said: “When Justin Trudeau says trust me, I wouldn’t trust him in the best of times, all the more so against the backdrop of an election campaign. He’s personally losing ads.”
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said that the allegations made by Canada regarding the “potential links” of India behind the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar are “Politically driven”.
“Yes, I do think there is a degree of prejudice here. They have made allegations and taken action against them. To us, it seems that these allegations by the government of Canada are primarily politically driven,” Bagchi said while addressing a weekly presser.
The MEA further said no information has been shared by Canada regarding the killing of Nijjar.
“We are willing to look at any specific information that is provided to us, but so far we have received no specific information from Canada,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday answering queries.
With the diplomatic row between India and Canada reaching the level of expelling envoys, Bagchi said that the Indian government has conveyed to the Canadian government that there should be parity in the strength of diplomatic presence.
He said, “We’ve informed the Government of Canada that there should be parity in strength in our mutual diplomatic presence. Their number is very much higher than ours in Canada… I assume there will be a reduction from the Canadian side.” (ANI)
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