PTC Web Desk: Union External Affairs Minister from India S Jaishankar has highlighted concerns about the Canadian political landscape providing significant leeway to Khalistani forces, enabling their involvement in actions detrimental to the bilateral relations between India and Canada.
In an interview with ANI, Indian Union External Affairs Minister Jaishankar emphasised how these activities, permitted within Canadian politics, adversely affect the relationship, stating "it is not in the interest of either Canada or India".
S Jaishankar clarified that the G20 summit in New Delhi was unrelated to the Khalistani issue in Canada. He pointed out that the Khalistan matter had persisted for years, distancing from speculation about other Prime Ministers.
He said diplomatic tensions between India and Canada had escalated, primarily due to a vocal pro-Khalistan lobby in Canada, posing threats to Indian diplomats stationed in the country. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's startling allegation in the House of Commons, linking India's government to the shooting death of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, BC, on June 18, added to the strain.
This accusation followed Canada's abrupt suspension of negotiations for an Early Progress Trade Agreement, a move unexplained by Canada. India promptly refuted Trudeau's claims, terming them baseless and motivated, with the Ministry of External Affairs asserting that Canada presented no credible information to substantiate the allegations.
The strained relations echo long-standing grievances, with India accusing Canada of vote-bank politics influencing its inaction. Conversely, Canada has held that India interfered in Sikh-related affairs in North America.
Notably, the Khalistan movement remains outlawed in India, classified as a national security threat. Various groups linked to the movement are designated as "terrorist organizations" under India's Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).