On September 22, 2023, the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that Washington is in touch with New Delhi on Canadian allegations over the Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing and there can be no special exemption for actions like these as the United States of America will defend its basic principles.
In response to a question related to why the United States of America is giving a free pass on Beijing and Delhi or Russian aggression, Sullivan also said that India is not Russia and is different from China which poses a certain different set of challenges.
Addressing a White House briefing, Sullivan reaffirmed that the US was deeply concerned about Canadian allegations, supported its investigation and wanted the perpetrators to be brought to justice. When asked whether President Joe Biden intended to speak with PM Modi about the issue and whether it could drive a wedge between India and the US, Sullivan said that he did not want to get into private diplomatic conversations but said that this issue had been discussed at higher levels.
“It is a matter of concern for us. It is something which will be dealt very seriously. It is something we will keep working on and we will do that regardless of the country. There is no special exemption you get for actions like these, Regardless of the country we will stand up and defend our basic principles, and we will also consult closely with allies like Canada as they pursue the law enforcement and diplomatic process,” Sullivan said.
Earlier in the briefing, Sullivan said that the US was deeply concerned about Canada’s allegations of possible links between the Indian government and a killing in Canada, it fully supports the investigation, and would like to see the perpetrators being brought to justice and that the US was in touch with both national governments.
Free Pass to India
In a different context, when asked why the US was giving a pass to India despite its position on the Russian Federation and its aggression, the fact that it had made a deal with 18 countries to not use dollars for trade, was on a watchlist for intellectual property theft and was a part of BRICS, Sullivan said “Where we have concerns for India, whether it comes to the very watchlist that you are describing or otherwise, we make those concerns clear and we defend US interests as we do with every country in the world.”
However, he added “Now India is not Russia and China has its own set of challenges that we deal with in its own context. So, there are going to be differences in how we deal with countries one by one But the North Star of the Administration is: If you are a security threat to America and its people and prosperity or basic sense of fairness, we will take action to defend that. I think the record on that across multiple countries including the ones which you have mentioned is quite clear over the last two and half years.”
US Response to Canada’s Allegations
In his comments, Sullivan regarded as President Joe Biden’s closest foreign policy aid and among the architects of the renewed momentum in the US -India Partnership said “As soon as we heard from the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau about the allegations, we went out publicly ourselves and expressed our deep concerns about them, our support for the law enforcement progress to get to the bottom of this issue and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.
While saying he would not get into the substance of private diplomatic conversations, Sullivan said that the US was in “constant contact with Canadian counterparts and consulting them closely and supported Canada’s efforts in this investigation. We also are in touch with the Indian government.”
Sullivan said he had seen efforts in the press to drive a wedge between the US and Canada, Sullivan said “I firmly reject that there is a wedge between US and Canada. We have deep concerns about the allegations we would like to see the investigations carried forward and perpetrators held to account. That is what the US has stood for from the moment when this became public and will fully stand by this till it fully plays its way out.”