New Delhi, September 29
While reiterating that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s allegation of a potential India link in Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing was not New Delhi’s policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today said he had told his high-level American interlocutors, including NSA Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that it was in fact Ottawa’s “permissive attitude” that had given space to organised crime from India which had got mixed up with trafficking, separatism, violence and terrorism.
“India’s security-related issues with Canada have preceded its PM Trudeau’s allegation. Our response to him both in private and public is what he was alleging is not consistent with our policy. And, that if his government had anything relevant and specific, we are open to looking at it. That is where this conversation is at this point of time,” the minister said during an interaction with a US think-tank, Hudson Institute, in Washington DC on Friday after holding talks with both Sullivan and Blinken.
Diplomats unsafe, publicly intimidated
Today I am in a situation where my diplomats are unsafe going to their embassy and consulates in Canada. They are publicly intimidated. And that has actually compelled me to suspend even visa operations in Canada. S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister
“You have to appreciate that this has been an issue of great friction for many years with Canada going back to the 1980s. Then it became dormant. But in the last two years, it has come back very much into play due to a very permissive Canadian attitude to terrorists, extremists and people who openly advocate violence. They have been given operating space because of compulsions of Canadian politics.
“I think for most Americans, Canada doesn’t look different. For us, it certainly is a country where organised crime from India is mixed with trafficking, violence, terrorism… it is a very toxic combination of issues and people who have found operating base there. So, a lot of our tensions with Canada well preceded what Trudeau said.
“Today I am in a situation where my diplomats are unsafe going to their embassy and consulates in Canada. They are publicly intimidated. And that has actually compelled me to suspend even visa operations in Canada. Often countries look different depending on how you see them and what their interests are. But I have a problem with Canada,” emphasised the minister while telling Walter Mead, Hudson’s Distinguished Fellow, that this was the “summary” of what he told Sullivan and Blinken.
“I think hopefully we came out of those meetings better informed,” he added.
Meanwhile, Blinken, while replying to a question at a press conference after the Mexico-US high-level economic dialogue in Washington, said he had told his Indian counterpart during the meeting that it was important for New Delhi to work with Canada in the investigations because "those responsible (for the killing) need to be held accountable".
"I’ve said before and my other colleagues have said before that we are very concerned about the allegations that were raised by Canadian PM Trudeau. We are in close contact with the Canadians about that. At the same time, we have engaged with the Indian government and urged them to work with Canada in the investigations…," he said, adding that he hoped the friends in Canada and India would work together to resolve this matter.
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