"U.S. Readout Omits Mention of India-Canada Tensions as Blinken Meets India's Top Diplomat

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with India's Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in Washington on Thursday. However, the U.S. official statement did not address the escalating dispute between India and Canada.

Before this meeting, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that he had received assurances that Washington would "certainly discuss" the extrajudicial killing of a Sikh separatist in Canada with New Delhi. Trudeau publicly made allegations on September 18, accusing the Indian government of orchestrating the murder.

Blinken, in his public comments, became the highest-ranking U.S. official to comment on the ongoing crisis between two of America's closest allies. He urged India to cooperate with Canada in investigating Trudeau's claims.

Typically, readout statements are issued after U.S. officials meet with other parties, but their content can vary, and omissions do not necessarily imply that the issue was excluded from the discussion.

Trudeau has not yet presented any public evidence to support his allegations. On September 21, India stated that Canada had shared "no specific information" regarding the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a naturalized Canadian and a prominent advocate for an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan.

Both countries have responded to the dispute with reciprocal expulsions of senior diplomats. Canada has also halted trade negotiations, while India suspended visa processing services for Canadians and demanded equal diplomatic staffing, effectively forcing Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic staff in India.

The deepening divide between the two nations is raising concerns among Canada's closest allies, including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. If the allegations prove to be true, it could potentially disrupt the U.S.'s efforts to strengthen its partnership with India as part of a broader Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at countering China.

India-U.S. Relations

The recent G20 leaders' summit witnessed unexpected consensus, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi co-hosted the launch of U.S. President Joe Biden's global infrastructure initiative in New Delhi, highlighting the growing partnership between India and the U.S.

In a significant year for Indian diplomacy, where India assumed the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and hosted the G20 presidency, Modi used these platforms to enhance India's global image as a key player advocating for the interests of the Global South and as an intermediary with developed nations.

The U.S. readout stated that Jaishankar and Blinken on Thursday "discussed a wide range of topics, including the key outcomes of India's G20 presidency and the potential for the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor to generate transparent, sustainable, and high-standard infrastructure investments."

The readout also mentioned that the two leaders discussed "the ongoing importance of cooperation in anticipation of the upcoming 2+2 Dialogue, particularly in the areas of defense, space, and clean energy."

The 2+2 ministerial dialogue represents comprehensive engagement in various key areas of cooperation, underscoring the depth and breadth of the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and India.

Jaishankar is in the U.S. on a working visit from September 22 to September 30, which includes stops at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and several bilateral meetings in Washington, D.C."**