US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti told his team in the country that relations between India and the US “could get worse for a time” due to New Delhi’s diplomatic spat with Canada, according to a report in Politico.
According to an unnamed State Department official, Garcetti also said that “the US may need to reduce its contacts with Indian officials for an undefined period of time”.
The US embassy dismissed the report, saying that “Ambassador Garcetti is working hard every day to deepen the partnership between the people and governments of the United States and India. As his personal engagement and public schedule demonstrates, Ambassador Garcetti and the US Mission to India are working every day to advance the important, strategic, and consequential partnership we have with India.”
The US has said that Canada’s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian government agents in the killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June are “serious” and has called for a full investigation. It has also said that it has discussed the matter with New Delhi and has urged it to participate actively in the probe.
According to Politico, when asked about the US envoy’s reported conversation with his team, a State Department spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that “We don’t have anything for you on this”.
“Ambassador Garcetti is a champion of our strong partnership with the Indian people and the Indian government. Our relationship with India is an important, strategic, and consequential partnership,” the spokesperson added.
Ties between India and Canada have been under strain for the past few months with New Delhi flagging increased activities and threats by pro-Khalistani elements in the North American country.
Things came to a head after Trudeau’s allegations against India in the Canadian parliament .
India has rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”. It also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Ottawa expelled an Indian official.
On September 21, India asked Canada to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country as relations between the two countries plunged to an all-time low following Ottawa’s allegations against New Delhi.
India also announced temporarily suspending the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens.
India-USA face-off on Canada issue
The Joe Biden administration has so far maintained that the Canadian government’s allegations need to be probed.
The matter had come up during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the former’s trip to the US.
The issue was also discussed when Dr S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met, John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, had said.
US Embassy rejects Garcetti’s claims
The US has strongly denied reports that the diplomatic face-off between India and Canada over Justin Trudeau’s allegations against the Narendra Modi government will worsen ties between New Delhi and Washington, DC.
The US embassy issued the denial after a report in Washington-based publication Politico, titled ‘Why Biden’s mum on the India-Canada spat’. The report quoted an official as saying that US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti had told his team that India-US ties “could get worse for a time”. It added that Garcetti had said the US “may need to reduce its contacts with Indian officials for an undefined period of time”.
A statement issued by the US Embassy in India says, “The U.S. Embassy dismisses these reports. Ambassador Garcetti is working hard every day to deepen the partnership between the people and governments of the United States and India. As his personal engagement and public schedule demonstrates, Ambassador Garcetti and the U.S. Mission to India are working every day to advance the important, strategic, and consequential partnership we have with India.”