India’s external affairs minister, S. Jaishankar, is set to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Thursday (28), amidst the ongoing diplomatic tension between India and Canada following the killing of a Khalistani separatist.
Although officials from both sides are tight-lipped about the agenda of the meeting, the latest diplomatic crisis between two of America’s friends, its traditional allies Canada and India, is expected to come up prominently during the talks.
“I don’t want to preview the conversations he (Blinken) will have in that meeting (with Jaishankar), but as we’ve made clear, we’ve raised this; we have engaged with our Indian counterparts on this and encouraged them to cooperate with the Canadian investigation, and we continue to encourage them to cooperate,” state department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.
He was responding to questions about the meeting between Jaishankar and Blinken at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department here on Thursday afternoon (which is about mid-night local India time).
The two leaders are expected to pose for pictures ahead of the meeting and are not expected to take any questions from the media.
While the meeting between the two top diplomats was scheduled much before the Canadian crisis broke out, the US has been urging India to cooperate in the Canadian investigation into the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia early this year.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has alleged that the Indian government was behind the killing of Nijjar, 45, outside a gurdwara in Surrey in British Columbia on June 18. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
India has rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official.
India has also asked Canada to crack down on terrorists and anti-India elements operating from its soil and suspended visa services for Canadians.
Jaishankar arrived in the American capital from New York after attending the annual General Assembly meetings of the United Nations on Tuesday (26).