The United States is in talks with "Indians at high levels" about Canada's claim that India's government was involved in the killing of a prominent Sikh secessionist, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sept. 21.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused "agents" of the Indian government of involvement in the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, leading to a strain in Canada's relations with India.
When asked whether President Joe Biden plans to address Canada's allegations with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Sullivan responded that Washington views it as "a matter of concern."
"I'm not going to get into private diplomatic conversations that have either already happened or are going to happen on this topic, only to say that we have been and will be in contact with the Indians at high levels on this issue," he told reporters.
The United States is taking the issue "seriously," Mr. Sullivan said, noting that there will be no "special exemption" for any countries.
"Regardless of the country, we will stand up and defend our basic principles," he said. "And we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue their law enforcement and diplomatic process."
Mr. Sullivan also expressed his disagreement with reports suggesting a "wedge" between Canada and the United States on the matter.
"I firmly reject the idea that there is a wedge between the U.S. and Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations, and we would like to see this investigation carried forward and the perpetrators held to account," he said.
Death of SeparatistMr. Nijjar—a vocal supporter of the Khalistan movement that advocates for a separate Sikh homeland in India's Punjab region—was shot dead by two masked men in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, on June 18.
Mr. Trudeau said on Sept. 18 that Canadian security agencies were actively pursuing "credible allegations" of "a potential link" between the Indian government and Mr. Nijjar's murder. The government also expelled a top Indian diplomat.
India's Foreign Ministry responded by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat, citing concerns about "the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities."
US Seeks Closer Ties With IndiaWestern countries have been promoting “friendshoring,” the practice of relocating supply chains to ally nations, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and seeking to move away from China for a number of reasons. India is the ideal counterbalance in the region as the world’s largest democracy.
For this reason, President Biden has cultivated a relationship with Mr. Modi, despite few ideological similarities between the two and a different stance on the Russia–Ukraine war.
Earlier this month, President Biden traveled to India for the G20 summit. The two leaders held a bilateral meeting ahead of the G20 summit and issued a joint statement “reaffirming the close and enduring partnership” between their countries.