Trudeau dodges questions on whether he’ll match India’s move to suspend visa processing | CBC News

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ducked questions Thursday about whether his government will match India’s move to halt visa services between the two countries.

India’s visa processing centre in Canada suspended services Thursday — part of a deepening row between the two countries that began on Monday when Trudeau said India’s government may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had been wanted by India for years, was gunned down outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, B.C., on June 18.

Speaking in New York, Trudeau sidestepped questions about visa processing and repeated his call for the Indian government to do more to get to the bottom of the matter.

“We call on the government of India to work with us, to take seriously these allegations and to allow justice to follow its course,” he said.

Canada’s High Commission in India said in a media statement that it’s temporarily adjusting its staff presence at its locations in India due to “some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms.”

WATCH: PM sidesteps question about India and visas 

Trudeau sidesteps question about India and visas

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say whether Canada will suspend visa services to India as diplomatic rift between the countries grows.

A number of Canada’s key allies have shown little inclination so far to wade into the escalating row between Ottawa and New Delhi.

Asked whether he was concerned about that, Trudeau did not criticize any of Canada’s allies and said his government is “standing up for the rules-based order.”

“We’re standing up for the rule of law,” he said. “We’re highlighting how unacceptable it would be for any country to be involved in the killing of a citizen on their own home soil and that’s something that we’ll continue to stand for.”

After China illegally detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in December of 2018, allies presented a united front in condemning Beijing’s actions.

Asked why Canada is not seeing that same level of support now, Trudeau insisted his government is following the same playbook.

“In the situation with the two Michaels, Canada grounded itself in the rule of law, in our values, in upholding our international treaties and obligations,” he said.

Evidence is ‘credible’: Trudeau

Trudeau said the allegation he made in the House of Commons was meant to defend Canadian values, not to “provoke or cause problems” with India.

“There is no question that India is a country of growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with, not just in the region but around the world,” he said.

Trudeau was asked Thursday whether he regretted making the allegation.

“There are credible reasons to believe that agents of the government of India were involved in the killing of a Canadian on Canadian soil,” he said.

“That is something of the utmost and foundational importance in a country of the rule of law, in a world where the international rules-based order matters. We have a rigorous and independent justice system and robust processes that will follow their course.”

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