Toronto, September 23
Criticising Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his reckless actions in a deepening diplomatic row with India over the killing of a Sikh separatist, Vikas Swarup, a former Indian envoy to the country asked Ottawa to take steps to de-escalate the dispute and allow the truth to come out in public.
Swarup, who served as India's high commissioner to Canada from 2017 to 2019, also repeated the Indian government's accusations that Ottawa has been too accommodating with violent Sikh separatists, something he said Canada would regret.
He also reminded the Canadian government that “everyone is innocent until proven guilty” and to allow “the rule of law to take its course”.
Swarup called Trudeau reckless for levelling accusations that New Delhi was involved in the assassination of Nijjar, the Calgary Herald newspaper reported.
“I have no idea why the Canadian government did what they did,” Swarup told the Global Business Forum at the Fairmont Banff Springs Conference Centre.
Banff is a resort town in the Canadian province of Alberta.
“I reject the allegations that have been made. Let the truth come out in a public environment," he said.
“So I would say Canada, please take a step back. Reflect carefully. There was no need for us to go public focus. This could easily have been solved at the diplomatic level by continuously engaging engagement between the two governments, but the bomb has exploded. We have to pick up the pieces and move on," he said.
His comments came as news reports emerged on Thursday that the Canadian government bases its allegations against India on both human sources and surveillance, some of it coming from its allies.
Swarup, who has also served as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said he had long been privy to the Indian government's efforts in advising Canada about what he called the threat of Sikhs in Canada pushing for a state separate from India called Khalistan.
“We had been giving dossier after dossier to Canada about the increasing activity about the pro-Khalistanis,” said Swarup.
“I think Canada should look at the larger picture,” he said. “You don't want to import the passions of the subcontinent into your own body politic because eventually they will infect you and you will be the loser.”
Swarup said he has no problem with those peacefully advocating for a separate Sikh state.
But he said it's Canada's responsibility to draw the line when it crosses into terrorism.
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Opposition for debate on ethics panel report | Ready for str...
Congress gears up to shift its MLAs to Karnataka