In recent news, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it clear that his government is not looking to escalate tensions with India.
Amidst a diplomatic face-off, Trudeau stated that his government is engaged in private talks to maintain a strong diplomatic presence in India.
While the Financial Times reported that India wants 41 out of the 62 Canadian diplomats expelled from the country, Trudeau did not confirm this report. Instead, he emphasized the importance of constructive relations during this difficult time.
Canada’s commitment to maintaining a strong diplomatic presence
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly also expressed Canada’s commitment to having a strong diplomatic footprint in India.
Joly stressed the importance of keeping diplomatic conversations private and maintaining on-the-ground presence despite the tensions.
In moments of strained relations between the two governments, having diplomats present is crucial for effective communication and resolution.
The diplomatic storm between Canada and India began when Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot and killed in British Columbia in June.
Nijjar was designated as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Trudeau made allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in Nijjar’s murder, which further escalated tensions.
India’s response and call for parity
India swiftly responded to Trudeau’s allegations, calling them absurd and motivated. In retaliation, both countries expelled senior diplomats and issued travel advisories.
While India has not yet responded to the report of asking Canadian diplomats to leave, they have previously called for parity in the number and rank of diplomats deployed by each country.
Trudeau’s charge against India and India’s concerns
Trudeau made these allegations shortly after his visit to New Delhi for the G20 summit. During the summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada.
Trudeau maintained that Canada would always defend freedom of expression and emphasized that the actions of a few do not represent the entire country.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed the matter during their meeting, according to John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House.
Canada had sought public condemnation of Nijjar’s murder from its allies ahead of the G20 summit, including the US, but found them reluctant to do so.
Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have expressed a commitment to defusing tension with India. They are engaged in private talks to maintain a strong diplomatic presence, despite the current challenges.
It remains to be seen how the diplomatic dance between Canada and India will unfold, but both countries must navigate it with caution and a willingness to find common ground.