Trudeau’s allegation against India is seen as amateurish and his lack of political maturity has put Canada in a mess. He has to rein in the unwieldy and anti-national lot who are vitiating the atmosphere and spreading hatred
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada is surely playing in the hands of the separatists in Canada and that is more than visible in the recent action when Canada expelled a senior Indian diplomat (September 18) for alleged complicity in the murder of activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara at Surrey, off Vancouver, British Columbia in June this year.
Nijjar, head of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was wanted in four cases in India for his separatist activities with strong affiliations with Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), run by another activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau raised his ‘deep concerns’ on the matter while speaking in the Parliament. Choosing a forum like the Parliament for such issues also looks surprising and far from normal. He also claimed having raised those concerns with Prime Minister Modi ‘personally and directly’. Trudeau described killing of a Canadian citizen on the country’s soil as an ‘unacceptable violation of sovereignty’. On its part, the Indian government has rejected claims made by the Canadian Prime Minister, calling them ‘absurd and motivated’.
India, on the other hand, has urged Canada to take effective and prompt legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil.
Earlier, Prime Minister Modi had told Justin Trudeau during their pull aside meeting in Delhi on the margins of the G20 leaders’ summit about its concerns over the anti-India activities emanating from the Canadian soil.
In view of Canada’s expulsion of the Indian diplomat, the Indian government has rightly retaliated and expelled two Canadian diplomats.
Test of strength
Meanwhile, US-based senior Defence Analyst Derek J. Grossman opined (September 19) that Canada’s allegations regarding the Indian involvement in the shooting of Nijjar could be the most significant test of strength of US-India partnership. Further, an Economics professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Vivek Dehejia termed Canada’s allegations against India as explosive. There are also numerous posts in the social media describing the allegations by Trudeau against India, as unproven.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry, in the meantime, countered Canadian PM’s claim on killing of Nijjar, pointing out that Canadian political figures have openly expressed sympathy for such elements. Senior Canadian journalist Tahir Aslam Gora averred that expulsion of Indian diplomat has created a tough situation in the relations between India and Canada. He further said that this revelation could have been made earlier or may be later, only after the investigation was completed.
As a direct fall out of the developments, the indefinitely postponed talks between India and Canada on the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) are likely to witness a capricious end after the recent development.
It is expected, as per some analysts, that India’s response will be disproportionate. Whatever space India was required to give due to diplomatic courtesies will soon be gone. Separatist terrorists can now be blocked at every turn, without Canada being able to respond. Their finances in India, their properties, their bank accounts and even their relatives who receive money from Canada – everything could now be under the scanner of the investigative agencies. No one with terror leanings/sympathies would be easily able to leave India for Canada and vice versa.
Meanwhile, diplomats familiar with Canada, reckon that Canada has to take the blame for souring relations with India which is now at an all-time low. Trudeau is indeed an amateur in diplomacy and statesmanship and due to his error of judgement, and lack of maturity, his country has come to such a pass. He is clearly to the tune of extremists and their supporters.
There is also a serious and lurking suspicion that Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence (ISI) has such elements on their pay rolls and their (ISI) script is being blindly read by Trudeau and those separatist elements. This exhibits Trudeau’s political immaturity and incapability to handle a crisis of this delicate dimension and of titanic proportions.
As of now, bilateral ties are looking beyond repair. Unless a very robust and well thought out diplomatic effort is launched, Canada is going to suffer and sadly, those Indians with relatives in Canada will have difficulty in travelling, receiving remittances etc. The picture will be further clear as the ongoing diplomatic row unfolds in the days to come. The onus for mending ties rests on Trudeau.
He has to rein in the unwieldy and anti-national lot who are vitiating the atmosphere and spreading hatred.
Meanwhile, the US, Australia and UK expressing “deep concern” on Canadian Prime Minister’s revelation shows an irrational knee jerk reaction on their part. Their selective amnesia will not help at all when they themselves face terror treats on their soil. Its time global terror concerns are jointly and universally addressed instead of taking a one-sided and hasty stance as in the case under reference.