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Can’t comment on Nijjar killing till investigation is over, says visiting New Zealand Deputy PM


NEW DELHI: Till the investigation into the murder of Khalistani radical Hardeep Singh Nijjar is over, it would not be prudent to comment on the issue, said visiting New Zealand Deputy PM Winston Peters.

“Indians are good at understanding their law. I am a lawyer too and will reiterate that until the investigation on the case is over, it’s not prudent to comment,” Peters said, adding that the rule of law would prevail.

New Zealand is among the Five Eyes countries (also including the US, UK, Canada and Australia). Canadian PM Justin Trudeau had alleged that India was involved in Nijjar’s killing in British Colombia in June 2023. Trudeau’s comment had led to a diplomatic row between India and Canada which took months to thaw.

"New Zealand and India are two countries that can, should and will be doing more together. My visit has demonstrated a joint commitment to investing more in building a broad based, mutually beneficial relationship," said Peters.

Meanwhile, during his visit Peters met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and spoke about enhancing ties with India in different sectors. He also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

The final framework of India and New Zealand’s air services agreement has been signed during his visit. Depending on when the airlines (like Air India or Air New Zealand) have more aircraft in their fleet, they will improve connectivity by starting direct flights between the two countries. These flights could take a year or two to commence.

"New Zealand and India are fellow democracies which, working with like-minded partners such as Australia and Japan, wish to see an Indo-Pacific characterised by respect for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes. These shared principles lie at the heart of New Zealand's push for an enhanced bilateral relationship with India, as well as deeper cooperation across the Indo-Pacific region including Pacific Island countries," Peters added.

There are around 300,000 members of the Indian diaspora in New Zealand. India is New Zealand’s second largest source of international students and largest source of skilled migrants.

Before coming to Delhi, Peters visited Gujarat and met Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel. He also visited GIFT City and was impressed by the sustainability efforts made around it.