Last June, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Sikh temple that he ran in Surrey, in Greater Vancouver. (File photo)
These allegations have worsened already tense relations between the Liberal government and that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who continues to deny any link to the assassination.
In an interview, Mr. Trudeau indicated that his public statement followed weeks of quiet diplomacy that included raising the allegations with India at the highest levels.
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This included a conversation that Mr. Trudeau met with Mr. Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi, where the two leaders met behind closed doors for 16 minutes.
We knew the conversations would be difficult, but we also knew this was an important moment for India to demonstrate its leadership on the global stage with the G20.
A quote from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Canadian Minister
And we felt we could use this as a constructive opportunity to work together.
When asked whether these discussions were constructive, Mr. Trudeau responded bluntly: No.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, during the G20 summit last September
Mr. Trudeau said he decided to make the announcement on September 18 because he expected the information would eventually be leaked to the media. He wanted Canadians to know that the government had the situation under control.
The Globe and Mailbroke the story shortly before Mr. Trudeau rose in the House.
Too many Canadians were worried about “We are vulnerable,” Trudeau said in this week's interview, adding that British Columbia's Sikh community raised concerns shortly after Nijjar's assassination. /p>
We felt that all of the quiet diplomacy and all of the measures that we put in place – and we made sure that our security services were in place to keep people in the community safe – required an additional level of deterrence , perhaps by publicly saying loud and clear that we know: that we have credible reason to believe that the Indian government was behind this, he said. And therefore, it prevents them from continuing or considering doing something like this.
Mr. Trudeau also pointed out that Canada had warned India that what it knew would eventually come to light, and that even if Ottawa had managed to keep things at diplomatic level ahead of the G20 summit, it could not not control much after the event.
Mr. Trudeau also said he didn't know whether it would come to light through leaks, the public inquiry into foreign interference or because things had reached a threshold at which we had duty to protect Canadians.
Mr. Trudeau's September 18 announcement was met with immediate calls for evidence, not only from India, but also from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who told the Liberal leader to tell the truth.
India responded by temporarily suspending its visa services to Canada and for Canadian citizens around the world. Canada also withdrew most of its diplomatic presence in India after New Delhi threatened to withdraw diplomatic immunity from these individuals and their families. Mr. Trudeau called the decision a violation of the Vienna Convention.
They chose to attack and undermine us with a scale of disinformation in their media that was comical.
A quote from Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister
[It] would have been more comical if it did not have real implications on people's lives and on the relations between our two countries, which are so deep in terms of people-to-people ties and people-to-people ties. that depend on the flow of connections between us.
India, which is the world's most populous country, reacted differently when prosecutors Americans alleged last month that an Indian government official led a plot to assassinate a prominent Sikh separatist leader living in New York. The US indictment pointed to a link to Mr Nijjar's case.
Rather than outright denial, India agreed to create a high-level committee to look into the US issue.
A spokesperson for the Indian High Commission in Ottawa highlighted remarks made by the country's foreign minister last week in parliament that the United States had provided evidence and that Canada had not done so.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Indian Foreign Minister
Regarding the United States, some data was provided to us as part of our security cooperation with the United States, said last Thursday Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in response to a question from a Member of Parliament.
This information concerned us, because it concerned the link between organized crime, trafficking and other issues. Therefore, since this has a bearing on our own national security, it was decided to initiate an inquiry into the matter and a commission of inquiry was constituted.
A quote from Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Indian Foreign Minister
In the case of Canada, Jaishankar argued, no specific evidence or information was provided to us. He added: The question of fair treatment of two countries, one of which provided data and the other not, does not arise.
In an interview, Mr. Trudeau said that Canada intends to reveal evidence in the same way that the United States has done when we reach these points in the ;investigation.
He noted that US authorities had earlier opened their investigation into an attempted murder.
Canada investigates a murder and the issues are different, and our justice system has different processes, he said. But it's happening.