External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized the Modi government’s commitment to addressing the concerns of the Sikh community during a press conference in Washington DC. He acknowledged that while some extremist elements exist within the Sikh community, they represent a “small minority” and do not speak for the entire community. Jaishankar’s remarks sought to distinguish between the broader Sikh community and individuals advocating violence and separatism.
Modi Government’s Focus on Sikh Community: Highlighting the Modi government’s sustained attention to Sikh community issues over the past decade, Jaishankar underlined the efforts made to address their concerns. He said, “Everyone is aware of the amount of attention that the Modi government has paid to the issues of the Sikh community in the last 10 years and the suggestions it has made.”
He added, “I do not believe that the discussions that are taking place right now are the representative issues of the entire community (Sikhs). Those who talk about terrorism, the separatist people, whose arguments include violence…this is a small minority, and the respective governments should take unbiased actions. We should not take this as a matter of the entire community.”
Permissiveness in Canada: Jaishankar also touched upon the ongoing diplomatic issue between India and Canada. He attributed the strained ties to what he referred to as “permissiveness” by the Canadian government regarding terrorism, extremism, and violence within its borders.
Trudeau’s Allegations and India’s Response: Recently, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged Indian government involvement in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India swiftly rejected these claims, deeming them “absurd” and “motivated.” Notably, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to substantiate these allegations.
Suspension of Visa Services and Advisory: In response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s accusations, India suspended its visa services in Canada. This move was indicative of the escalating diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
As the situation remains sensitive, India issued an advisory to its citizens and travelers to Canada. It urged individuals to exercise “utmost caution given growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” in the country.
The diplomatic dispute continues to unfold, with India reaffirming its commitment to addressing concerns while distinguishing between the broader Sikh community and those advocating violence and separatism.