Blinken on the killing of Nijjar is coordinating with Canada and wants the probe to be finished.
According to Blinken, the US was “extremely vigilant” about any instances of “alleged transnational repression” and took the matter “very, very seriously” in general.
The US has consulted, and even coordinated with, Canada regarding its allegation linking the Indian government to a homicide committed on US soil, according to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. The US wants the Canadian investigation to move forward, India to cooperate with the investigation, and the investigation to result in accountability.
He continued by saying that the US was “extremely vigilant” about any instances of “alleged transnational repression” and treated the matter “very, very seriously” as a whole. The larger issue in the international system that he alludes to appears to be US criticism of China for its pattern of transnational repression in the West, even if he said it in the context of Canada’s accusation.
At a news conference in New York on Friday, Blinken offered his initial thoughts on the matter in response to allegations made by Canada that “agents” of the Indian government were responsible for the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist and a Canadian citizen, on Canadian soil.
Just hours before Blinken’s remarks, the State Department said in response to a series of questions from HT that while the US views its relationship with India as “vitally important,” it takes this matter “very seriously” and will stand by its principles while working with its ally to advance legal and diplomatic procedures.
Blinken responded that they were quite worried about the claims when questioned about American engagement with Canada and India on the matter and how it fit with India’s ambition to play a larger role and US expectations of India being a democratic counterweight to China.
“We have been working closely and in consultation with our Canadian colleagues on this problem. We haven’t only been consulting; we have also been coordinating with them. Additionally, it is crucial from our point of view that the Canadian inquiry continues, and it would be necessary for India to collaborate with the Canadians on this probe. We want to see responsibility, therefore it’s critical that the investigation continue and get that outcome, the official added.
Blinken stated that he would not characterize or discuss diplomatic exchanges, but that the US has “engaged directly” with the Indian government, much like US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had earlier in the week. “Once more, I believe that seeing this inquiry continue and be finished is the most fruitful thing that can happen right now. Additionally, we would like our Indian friends to assist with the investigation.
Then Blinken explained that there was a bigger problem at play. “You heard me talk about this. We take any allegations of international repression very seriously and are incredibly watchful in this regard.
He stated that it was crucial for the global system that any government considering such actions refrain from doing so. The State Department described it as “especially pervasive, pronounced, and persistent,” particularly against “Uyghurs, Tibetans, members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, Hong Kongers, and PRC citizens and non-PRC citizens living abroad, who seek only to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The US administration and Congress have been extremely critical of what they see as China’s transnational repression.
On Thursday, HT posed a series of inquiries to the State Department regarding the nature of US-Canada consultation, the American evaluation of the supporting evidence, India’s concerns that Canada could serve as a base for terrorism and extremism, and whether the allegation is prompting a change in the administration’s policy toward India.
A representative for the State Department stated on Friday that the US would not comment on the content of secret diplomatic discussions or on subjects relating to intelligence or law enforcement. “On this matter, we are closely coordinating and consulting with Canada.”
The statement continued, “We still place a high value on our partnership with India, but we take this matter extremely seriously. No matter the nation, we will stand up for our fundamental values and work closely with partners like Canada as they do their diplomatic and law enforcement operations.