Despite an ongoing diplomatic dispute, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that his country is committed to strengthening ties with India.
His most recent comments come at a time when relations between the two countries are at an all-time low, reports BBC.
Tensions rose when Trudeau announced on September 19 that Canada was examining plausible accusations that India was involved in the death of a Sikh separatist leader.
The claim was rejected as “absurd” by Delhi.
In June, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed outside a temple in Canada.
Nijjar was vocal about the Khalistan movement.
On Thursday, Trudeau said it was essential to engage India "constructively and seriously."
"India is a growing economic power and important geopolitical player. And as we presented our Indo-Pacific strategy just last year, we're very serious about building closer ties with India," the National Post quoted him as saying.
Tensions between the two countries became apparent during the G20 conference in Delhi on September 9 when Trudeau skipped an official leaders' dinner, the BBC report said.
He had a brief meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but their body language was seen as "frosty" by experts, it added.
A few days later, Trudeau told the Canadian parliament that they were looking into possible allegations of Indian agents being involved in Nijjar's killing.
Both countries have since expelled a diplomat from each of the other. Last week, India also suspended visa services for Canadians, citing security concerns at its diplomatic missions in the country.
Trudeau spoke about the significance of relations with India on Thursday, but emphasised that the murder inquiry would continue.
"At the same time, obviously, as a rule of law country, we need to emphasise that India needs to work with Canada to ensure that we get the full facts of this matter," he said.
India has insisted that it had no role in the murder, adding that Nijjar had been designated a terrorist by Delhi in 2020 — an allegation his supporters vehemently deny, the report also said.
The Indian government has frequently reacted harshly to demands for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh nation, made by Sikh separatists in Western countries.
The US, UK, and Australia have urged Delhi to aid in the inquiry but have refrained from criticising India, which they consider as a bulwark against China's development in Asia.