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The Truth About Canada-India Relations Revealed
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his seriousness about building strong ties with India despite the current diplomatic dispute. His latest remarks come at a time when relations between both countries are at an all-time low.
Tensions escalated when Mr. Trudeau stated on September 19 that Canada was investigating credible allegations of Indian involvement in the murder of a Sikh separatist leader. Delhi promptly dismissed these claims as baseless.
In June, Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed outside a temple in Canada. During the G20 Summit in Delhi on September 9, tensions between the two nations flared as Mr. Trudeau did not attend the official dinner with Indian leaders. Although he did hold a brief meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, experts described their interaction as “cool.”
A few days later, Mr. Trudeau informed the Canadian Parliament that they were pursuing credible allegations of Indian agents’ involvement in Nijjar’s murder. Following this, both nations expelled each other’s respective diplomats. Last week, India suspended visa services for Canadian citizens due to security concerns related to its diplomatic missions.
On Thursday, Mr. Trudeau emphasized the importance of forging “constructive and serious” relations with India. He stated, “At the same time, as a country that upholds the rule of law, we need to work with Canada to ensure we have all the facts in this case.” India has vehemently denied any involvement in the murder and has strongly refuted the allegations of its agents’ complicity, reaffirming Nijjar’s designation as a terrorist by Delhi in 2020.
The Indian government has often reacted strongly to demands for Khalistan or a separate Sikh homeland by Sikh separatists in Western countries. While the movement had its peak in the 1980s, centered in Punjab, a state in northern India, it was largely quelled and has seen little resurgence within India. However, it remains popular among some segments of the Sikh community in countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK.
Western nations are also interested in the ongoing conflict between India and Canada, two countries who have been close partners for a long time. India has declined offers from the US, UK, and Australia to help with the investigation because it sees their participation as a security buffer against China’s development in Asia.
In his discussion with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, Mr. Trudeau said that the US had told him that S. Jaishankar, the Indian counterpart, would be briefed on the allegations.