External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a “secret meeting” with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly in Washington last month to resolve a diplomatic row over the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Diplomacy always better
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly on Wednesday hinted that there have been discrete contacts between the two sides over the Nijjar killing. “Diplomacy is always better when conversations remain private… I will continue to take the same approach when it comes to India,” she said.
A US media report also said Canada is yet to comply with India’s diktat to cut its diplomatic strength in the country to less than half. In fact, sources said, a couple of Canadian diplomats who were out of the country have returned. India has referred to the Vienna Convention to seek parity in diplomatic presence whereas Canada says its diplomats face security risks here.
The Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment about the meeting which was never disclosed by Jaishankar while the Canadians have spoken of “quiet diplomacy”. Giving an inkling of backchannel talks, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau had said, “we are not looking to escalate. We are going to be quietly doing the work that matters in continuing to having constructive relations with India in this difficult time.”
Jaishankar was in Washington DC from September 27 to 30. The MEA had given details only of his meetings with US leaders and think tanks. Joly on Wednesday again hinted that there have been discrete contacts between the two sides over the Nijjar killing. “Well, I’ve said it many times, and I’ll continue to say it. Diplomacy is always better when conversations remain private. And that’s the approach I will continue to take when it comes to India,’’ she said at a press conference in Ottawa.