Amidst the diplomatic strain in India-Canada relations, India's envoy here has warned that the Sikh separatist groups in Canada were crossing "a big red line" that New Delhi sees as a matter of national security and of the country's territorial integrity. Indian HighCommissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma said this on Tuesday in his first public remarks since three Indian nationals accused of killing Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year were arrested and produced before a court by Canadian police.

Verma seemed to link the case to domestic crime, CTV News reported. He also warned that Sikh groups in Canada who call for the separation of their homeland from India are crossing "a big red line" that New Delhi sees as a matter of national security. "Indians will decide the fate of India, not the foreigners," Verma told the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, a prominent think-tank.

He also told the Council that relations between India and Canada are positive overall despite "a lot of noise". Verma also said that the two countries are "trying to resolve this issue." "We are ready to sit down at the table any day, and we are doing that," he said.

Verma said the deeper problems underneath the recent "negative" developments have to do with Canada's misunderstanding of "decades-old issues," which he blames Canadians of Indian origin for resurfacing.

He said his chief concern is "national-security threats emanating from the land of Canada," noting that India does not recognise dual nationality, so anyone who emigrates is considered a foreigner.

"Foreigners having, if I can call it, (an) evil eye on the territorial integrity of India - that is a big red line for us," he said.

He did not specify whether he was referring to foreigners being involved in the Nijjar case or the issue of Sikh separatism more broadly, the report said. (TOI).