Blinken Meets India’s Top Diplomat, Skips Canada Row in Readout

Blinken Meets India’s Top Diplomat, Skips Canada Row in Readout

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(Bloomberg) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Indian counterpart Thursday as tensions between two of Washington’s key allies, Canada and India, grow over the killing of a Sikh leader. 

The official readout of the meeting between Blinken and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Washington didn’t reference the dispute. It said the two discussed a “full range of issues,” including outcomes of India’s Group of 20 presidency and plans to create an economic corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe. 

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month alleged India’s government was involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was a Canadian citizen, in a Vancouver suburb in June. India has dismissed the allegations as “absurd.”

Read: India, Canada Trade Diplomatic Blows Over Murder Allegations 

Blinken last week urged India to cooperate with Canada’s investigation into the killing, adding the US was consulting and “coordinating” with Canada on the matter.   

Both Canada and India have expelled senior diplomats from their countries in a tit-for-tat escalation of tension. Canada plans to reduce embassy staff as security threats rise in the South Asian nation while New Delhi has stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens.

The response from Washington over the Sikh leader’s killing has been relatively muted at a time when India’s geopolitical clout has been rising. President Joe Biden has courted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent years as part of a broader Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at competing with China. 

Blinken and Jaishankar also discussed the “importance of cooperation” ahead of the so-called 2+2 Dialogue, the State Department said, referring to the diplomatic summit between India and the US covering foreign relations and defense. 

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