The federal government has rejected the notion that Indian nationals living in Canada should exercise the “utmost caution,” slapping down an advisory put forth by the Indian government on Wednesday.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc assured reporters that “Canada is a safe country.”
The Indian government’s advisory told Indian nationals and students in Canada that they may not be safe due to “growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes.”
The federal government responded to India’s warning by updating its own travel information for Canadians visiting India, telling them to exercise a “high degree of caution” while there due to the “threat of terrorist attacks.”
The back and forth began after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being involved in the assassination of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Trudeau said in the House of Commons that there were “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government agents and the murder of Nijjar in June.
The advisory published by India’s foreign ministry expressed concern for the safety of Indian nationals and students living in Canada due to “politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence.”
“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda,” read the statement. “Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid traveling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents.”
Ottawa has yet to release any details on the merits of the accusation, however Trudeau remains confident in his decision to make the investigation public. He said that after months of deliberation and consultation with allies, the public had a right to know.
This accusation has put several other Canadian and Indian allies in a tough position, countries like the United States, Australia and the U.K. have all been making moves to try and strengthen their ties with India.
Governments in both the U.K. and U.S. have said that they are “deeply concerned” by the possibility of India’s involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen, saying that they will remain “in close touch” with Canada’s authorities.
Some have accused the U.S. of downplaying the situation and not properly condemning India.
“Reports that we rebuffed Canada in any way on this are flatly false,” wrote White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on X.
“We are coordinating and consulting with Canada closely on this issue. This is a serious matter and we support Canada’s ongoing law enforcement efforts. We are also engaging the Indian government.”