In recent discussions between India and the United States, the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar has emerged as a point of contention, leading to a diplomatic crisis between India and Canada.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar expressed his concerns to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, stating that Canada harbors extremist elements.
Canada’s Allegations and India’s Response
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had accused “Indian government agents” of being involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India firmly rejected these allegations, labeling them as “absurd.” Foreign Minister Jaishankar emphasized that Trudeau’s claims are inconsistent with India’s policies.
Moreover, he stated that Canada has a “permissive attitude towards terrorists, extremists, and people who openly advocate violence.”
Jaishankar pointed out that these elements find operating space in Canada due to political compulsions.
Canada has not provided any evidence to support its allegations against India.
However, reports suggest that these claims were shared among an intelligence alliance including the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. India, in turn, has accused Canada of providing safe haven to terrorists.
Secretary Blinken expressed the US concern over Trudeau’s allegations, stating that the US has been in close contact with Canada and urged India to collaborate with Canada on the investigation.
India’s Criticism of Canada
Foreign Minister Jaishankar has criticized Canada on multiple occasions for providing shelter to extremist forces, threatening Indian diplomats, and attacking Indian consulates.
He has highlighted the presence of organized crime, human trafficking, secessionism, violence, and terrorism within Canada.
Jaishankar pointed out that Indian diplomats face security risks in Canada and reiterated that India is open to investigating specific issues if Canada provides concrete evidence. However, he emphasized the need for something substantial to initiate an investigation.
Tensions between India and Canada had been brewing since Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns over rising secessionist activities in Canada during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Delhi.
In 2018, India reportedly handed Trudeau a list of nine Khalistani operatives. The situation escalated further when Trudeau alleged Indian involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India who had obtained Canadian citizenship.
Building Closer Ties Amidst Tensions
Despite the ongoing tensions, Trudeau has emphasized the importance of building closer ties with India.
He highlighted India’s growing economic power and its significance as an important geopolitical player.
Trudeau’s statement reflects Canada’s interest in strengthening its relationship with India at a time when challenges persist between the two nations.
The recent Indo-US talks have shed light on the allegations of Canadian extremist elements, which have strained the relationship between India and Canada.
While Canada has accused India of involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, India has rejected these claims and criticized Canada for providing shelter to extremists.
The US has engaged with both countries, emphasizing the need for collaboration and accountability.
As tensions persist, both India and Canada must navigate this diplomatic crisis to ensure peace and stability in the region.