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India now co-operating with Canada following allegations, after 'fruitful' discussions, says outgoing NSIA

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s outgoing national security advisor Jody Thomas says India is now co-operating after Canada alleged agents of the Indian government may be linked to the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, describing the changing relationship as an “evolution.”

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos airing Sunday, Thomas said Canada has “made advancements in that relationship.”

“My discussions with my counterpart in India have been fruitful, and I think they’ve moved things forward,” said Thomas.

This past September, Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons to say there were “credible allegations” the Indian government may have been involved in the killing of Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in B.C. in June. India quickly denied the accusations, while Canada called upon India to co-operate with the investigation.

Relations between Canada and India were strained for months afterwards. In October, Canada recalled more than 40 diplomats from India after the Indian government said it would revoke their diplomatic immunity.

But in December, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta in June in connection with a failed attempt to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader on U.S. soil. The unsealed indictment also revealed a connection to the killing of Nijjar.

Unlike its response to Canada’s allegations, India was quick to say it would co-operate with the U.S. In an interview with The Financial Times in December, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “if a citizen of ours has done anything good or bad, we are ready to look into it. Our commitment is to the rule of law.”

When asked by Kapelos whether Canada’s improved relationship with India was a result of the U.S. indictment, Thomas said “the two are connected for sure.”

“The information that they revealed supported our position and our assertions with India. India is working with us, and my counterpart, in particular, far more closely to resolve this,” said Thomas.

Thomas is retiring on Jan. 26 after more than 35 years in public service. She was appointed to the role as National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister in January 2022.

You can watch the full interview with Jody Thomas on CTV’s Question Period Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

With files from CTV’s Question Period Associate Producer Spencer Van Dyk. 

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