US denies rift with Canada over India accusation

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WASHINGTON – The White House on Thursday insisted there was no “wedge” between the United States and Canada over Ottawa’s charges that India had a hand in the killing of a Sikh separatist on its territory.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a major diplomatic row when he raised allegations that Indian agents played a role in the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, near Vancouver.

“I have seen in the press some efforts to try to drive a wedge between the United States and Canada on this issue,” said Mr Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to President Joe Biden.

“I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the US and Canada,” he told reporters, noting that “we have deep concerns about the allegations.”

The Washington Post reported, in an article that was later corrected, that Canada had unsuccessfully asked its allies, particularly the United States, to publicly condemn the assassination of the Sikh leader, pointing the finger at New Delhi.

The development is a sensitive issue for Washington, a neighbour and historic ally of Canada which is currently trying to forge closer ties to the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of its strategy to contain China’s rising power. AFP

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