‘Canada is new Pakistan, this is Trudeau’s real legacy’: Canadian PM gets slammed for ‘killing’ charges against India


The bilateral relationship between India and Canada has hit rock bottom due to what New Delhi calls Ottawa’s inaction against pro-Khalistan forces operating there under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The relationship, which many hoped may make some progress after Trudeau’s visit to New Delhi for G20, plunged one notch down after the Canadian PM claimed that there were “credible allegations” of the involvement of Indian agents in the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Surrey in June.

Trudeau not only made that claim, which India rejected, but also expelled a senior Indian diplomat. In a tit-for-tat move, New Delhi, too, expelled the High Commissioner of Canada and asked him to leave India in the next five days.

Experts tracking Canada and its policies towards India have blamed Justin Trudeau for the downfall of diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Ottava in the last few years. 

Brahma Chellaney, a geostrategist and author, said Trudeau, with his political alliance with Sikh radicals in Canada, has brought bilateral ties with India under increasing strain. He also underlined that Canada’s claim of India’s involvement in the killing of Nijjar came only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chastised Trudeau “for being soft on Sikh terrorists” during his visit to New Delhi for G20 Summit.        
“Three months after the killing, no one has been charged. Nor did Trudeau say who his government believes carried out the killing. But his unproven allegation, by sparking tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats, will likely bring Canada-India relations to a new low,” Chellaney said.

The geostrategist further underlined that Trudeau was talking about “allegations” and about a “potential”, not actual, India link to the killing. “Given that Canadian security agencies have yet to find any evidence of India’s role in the killing, why would Trudeau at this stage publicize an unproven allegation, knowing that it would hold serious implications for bilateral relations with India?” he asked.

Sushant Sareen, a senior fellow at ORF, said that Canada has now become the new Pakistan. “(Canada) supports terrorism, is a sanctuary for terrorists, narcotics and human traffickers, has politicians hand in glove with these criminal elements and proving them political protection. This is @JustinTrudeau’s real legacy. Meanwhile, Canada’s economy crashes.”

In June this year, Nijjar, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and one of India’s most-wanted terrorists, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen outside a gurdwara in Surrey in the western Canadian province of British Columbia.

“Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said on Monday in a speech to the House of Commons.

Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion, said that allegations of the Indian government’s involvement in the “killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is extremely concerning & unacceptable”.

However, Chris Blackburn, a UK-based political analyst, asked Khera: “But what about India’s sovereignty?” He said this Khalistan issue has been boiling over for years. “Canada has failed to deal with it despite evidence of terrorism being plotted from your soil.”

Canada, which has a Sikh population of more than 770,000 about 2 per cent of its total population, has seen a rise in pro-Khalistan voices from its soil and Trudeau has justified it by saying his country believes in “freedom of expression”.

A former Canadian army officer slammed Trudeau for calling Nijjar a Canadian citizen. Graeme Menzies, currently the Director- Recruitment Marketing at The University of British Columbia, said that Nijjar came to Canada in 1997 using a false passport. “His refugee claim was rejected, but 11 days after that, he married a woman who sponsored him for immigration. That, too, was rejected. Trudeau referred to him as a Canadian in the House of Commons.”

Nijjar was designated a ‘terrorist’ by India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in July 2020 and his property in the country was attached by anti-terror organisation NIA in September 2020. A Red Corner Notice was also issued against him in 2016. Nijjar was also put under house arrest by the local police in Surrey in 2018 on suspicion of his terror involvement.

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