India-Canada friction: Ottawa must rein in separatists - The Tribune India

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India-Canada friction

Ottawa must rein in separatists

India-Canada friction

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



DAYS after the Canadian police arrested three Indian nationals in the Hardeep Singh Nijjar murder case, India’s High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma has stated that Sikh separatist groups in that country are crossing ‘a big red line’. He said this matter was a cause for concern for New Delhi as it pertained to its territorial integrity and national security. The India-Canada relations have been facing rough weather ever since Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced in September last year that the alleged role of Indian government agents in the Nijjar case was being probed.

The two countries are trying to resolve the current issue, Verma said, but he hastened to add that Canada’s misunderstanding of ‘decades-old issues’ was to blame for the deeper problems underlying the recent ‘negative’ developments. The latest provocation was the chanting of anti-India slogans by Khalistan supporters during a Sikh parade in Ontario last week. Late last month, pro-Khalistan slogans had been raised at a public event attended by Trudeau and other leaders in Toronto, prompting India to reiterate that Canada was giving political space to ‘separatism, extremism and violence’.

New Delhi is worried not only about the use of Canadian territory for anti-India propaganda but also the security of its diplomatic representatives in the Maple Country. The Ministry of External Affairs has stated that it expects the Trudeau government to ensure that the diplomats are able to carry out their responsibilities without fear. The ball is in Canada’s court. Being a democratic country which respects the rule of law, Ottawa needs to crack down on rabble-rousers who glorify and incite violence. It should not allow itself to be intimidated by radical elements which are misusing freedom of expression. Antagonising an old ally like India, the fastest-growing major economy in the world, will be detrimental to Canada’s geopolitical and economic interests. 

#Canada #Sikhs


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