New Delhi, November 16
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has called upon Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to share evidence on the alleged involvement of the Indian Government in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Raises freedom of speech misuse with UK
London: Jaishankar raised India’s concerns about pro-Khalistan extremism in the UK with its top leadership. “We have been trying to get the government here to understand while we as a fellow democracy understand importance of freedom of expression and speech, they should be on guard against misuse of these freedoms,” he said. PTI
“In case of Trudeau, if you have reason to make such (an) allegation, please share the evidence with us. We are not ruling out an investigation. They haven’t done so,” Jaishankar said in a fireside chat in the UK on Wednesday evening.
No trade talks with india, says Canada
Ottawa has ruled out trade talks with New Delhi until it cooperates with probe into Nijjar’s killing. “Right now, the focus is to let the work of the investigation proceed,” Canada Trade Minister said. “You’ve heard government talk about how important it is that an investigation happens… we’ll let that happen,” minister said.
Respect Vienna Convention: MEA
Reacting to Khalistani separatists’ bid to disrupt an Indian High Commission outreach event on November 12, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “We reiterate need for nations to respect Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations so that our diplomats can discharge their diplomatic obligations.
“If at any stage any country believes they have reason to suspect something amiss, present us with evidence, I would not justify it. I would look into it,” he added.
The EAM accused Canadian politicians of giving free space to advocates of violent and lethal means and said it had come to a situation where Indian diplomats, including the High Commissioner, had been intimidated in public and no action had been taken.
In Delhi, the MEA called on Ottawa to respect the Vienna Convention for diplomats after Khalistani separatists unsuccessfully tried to disrupt an Indian High Commission outreach event in Toronto.
“This (Canada) is a country with previous history,” he said while stating the bombing of the Air India flight from Canada in 1985 resulted in more deaths than of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. In the case of the Pan Am flight, the West had persuaded the UN Security Council to impose sanctions in Libya, forcing it to hand over the suspects.
“Freedom for speech and expression comes with certain responsibilities. Misuse of those freedoms and their tolerance is wrong,” he told his interlocutors. Asked if India has changed from its Nehruvian orientation, Jaishankar said: “absolutely”.
“We are more Indian, we are more authentic, not today currying favour before a global audience or trying to live up to some Left-wing liberal construct, which many Indians felt was not us,” he observed.
“Secularism doesn’t mean being non-religious. It means equal respect for all faiths. What happened in reality was from equal respect, (we) got into vote bank politics, minority pandering. That created a backlash. A very powerful word in the Indian political debate is ‘appeasement’…. more and more people started feeling that in the name of equality of all religions, the biggest religion (in India) had to be self-deprecatory and play itself down.” Jaishankar also was forthright on India’s ties with Russia and accused the West of double standards. “We have learnt the hard way that when people speak of principles, they are tempered by interests. In this particular case, we have a very powerful interest to keep the relationship with Russia going,” he observed, adding had India not bought Russian oil, the open market crude prices would have been much higher. Asked if the Modi government’s Hindu-centric orientation affected India’s relations in the Gulf, Jaishankar responded by stating ties with West Asia and the Gulf had been “far, far better than they ever been in history” and the changes in India had been “very, very well received in the Gulf and West Asia”.
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