The Okay phrase has lengthy been related to Kashmir for India in geopolitics and diplomacy, however now one other Okay – Khalistan – has emerged as vastly contentious, souring ties between India and Canada.
In an announcement strongly rejected by New Delhi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused the Indian authorities of involvement within the killing of pro-Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Trudeau made the assertion within the Home of Commons because the Canadian parliament convened on Monday, “Any involvement of a international authorities within the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” he mentioned, as reported by Canadian media.
International Minister Melanie Joly later introduced that Canada had additionally expelled a high Indian diplomat over the problem.
Rejecting the allegation as “absurd and motivated”, New Delhi has mentioned, “Such unsubstantiated allegations search to shift the main focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who’ve been offered shelter in Canada and proceed to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The inaction of the Canadian Authorities on this matter has been a long-standing and persevering with concern.”
This marks a brand new low in India-Canada ties only a week after Trudeau referred to “interference” whereas in Delhi for the G20 Summit. He had alleged Indian interference in Canada. Whereas speaking about his assembly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India elevating the problem of Khalistan, Trudeau mentioned, “Diaspora Canadians make up an enormous proportion of our nation, and they need to be capable of specific themselves and make their decisions with out interference from any of the various nations that we all know are concerned in interference challenges.”
Quickly after, the Ministry of Exterior Affairs, in its assertion on the Modi-Trudeau assembly, mentioned Prime Minister Modi had conveyed “robust considerations about persevering with anti-India actions of extremist parts in Canada.”
Nijjar was killed outdoors a Gurdwara on June 18 in Surrey in British Columbia. Nijjar was a recognized Khalistan backer and since his killing by two masked gunmen, his supporters have accused India of a job, with out providing any proof. Posters inciting violence had photographs of Indian diplomats, together with India’s Excessive Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, the previous consul basic of India in Toronto, Apoorva Srivastava, and the Consul Basic of India in Vancouver.
Responding swiftly to the posters related to what was referred to as a Freedom Rally, Melanie Joly had mentioned, “Canada takes its obligations beneath the Vienna Conventions concerning the security of diplomats very significantly.”
Two months on, the state of affairs seems to have escalated dramatically with Prime Minister Trudeau claiming his authorities has “credible intelligence inputs of the Indian authorities’s involvement within the killing of Nijjar”.
Nevertheless, some in Canada have referred to as this a distraction as Trudeau faces a troublesome parliament session. Opposition chief Pierre Poilievre has already raised the problem of affordability and is anticipated to double down on his assaults on Trudeau. Trudeau’s reputation has been sagging over points starting from a housing disaster to meals inflation.
Previously, from 2018 to 2022, relations between the Modi authorities and Trudeau had worsened over the Khalistan row.
Trudeau’s 2018 go to to India was marred by an enormous controversy over his former spouse Sophie being photographed at an occasion in Mumbai with convicted Khalistan activist Jaspal Singh Atwal. It so turned out that Atwal was additionally invited to a dinner on the Canadian Excessive Fee. The invite was recalled after the furore however the diplomatic harm was performed.
Atwal had served 20 years in jail for trying to kill the then Punjab cupboard minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in Vancouver in 1986.
In 2020, after Trudeau’s help to the farmers’ protest in India, an open letter written by a gaggle of former India diplomats had accused the Canadian PM of indulging in vote financial institution politics by pandering to pro-Khalistani parts. The letter had mentioned that Khalistani parts in Canada management plenty of distinguished Gurdwaras, which provides them entry to substantial funds, a few of that are allegedly diverted to the electoral marketing campaign of political events particularly the Liberals.
With each home points at play and now a dangerous entanglement with India over a delicate concern, it appears Trudeau faces a troublesome fall season.
(Maha Siddiqui is a journalist who has extensively reported on public coverage and international affairs.)
Disclaimer: These are the non-public opinions of the creator.