US wary of potential rift with India over Canada’s allegations

Lazy eyes listen


According to Politico, citing unnamed officials, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti cautioned his team that relations between New Delhi and Washington could deteriorate for some time.

Garcetti has also reportedly told his team that they may have to cut back on contacting Indian officials for a while, as some members of Joe Biden’s administration feel the administration’s relationship with the Indian government will deteriorate “in the near term.”

The news comes amid an increasing diplomatic spat between India and Canada over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claim that “agents of the Indian government” were involved in the June death of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, Canada.

While the New York Times reported that Washington offered intel that aided Trudeau’s accusation, the White House – historically Canada’s most important friend – has been relatively mum on the subject as it strives to court India in the face of China’s expanding influence in the area. As a result, White House officials have expressed their worry over the allegations while pushing India to participate with the probe. According to a State Department official, the US-India relationship is “an important, strategic, and consequential partnership.”

During his recent visit to Washington, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met separately with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, with whom he discussed the ongoing dispute with Canada.

Speaking at a Hudson Institute session, Jaishankar “noted that he had heard US views and assessments of the India-Canada situation in those discussions,” according to The Hindu. Later, Blinken stated that he had requested his Indian colleague “to work with Canada to investigate the killing.” So yet, Canada has not publicly produced any evidence to back up Trudeau’s assertions, which New Delhi has denounced as “absurd.”

Despite the tensions with Canada, Jaishankar has often stated that India’s ties with the United States remain robust. “Our relationship is at an all-time high,” Jaishankar recently claimed at an Indian Embassy function in Washington. “However, as they say in America, you haven’t seen nothing yet.” We’re taking this connection to the next level.” He also stated that the US-India partnership, like Chandrayaan, India’s lunar mission that made a historic landing on the Moon in August, would “go to the moon and even beyond.”

If Garcetti has warned his colleagues about potential friction with India, it was not evident at an event in New Delhi on Wednesday, where he said he was “proud” to see the United States and India “working together for a more peaceful world,” declaring that “the great minds in India and the great minds in the United States can work to find more paths to peace.”