20 Sept 2023

India Canada Row: Canada Issues Advisory For Its Citizens; Western Governments React

New Delhi: Diplomatic tension between India and Canada is increasing. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar and expelled one of India's diplomats.

India also expelled senior Canadian diplomat in tit-for-tat row over Sikh activist's killing.

After this, on Tuesday night, Canada has asked its citizens not to go to J&K in view of the security situation there. There is a danger of terrorism and kidnapping. Apart from this, it has also been advised not to go to Assam and Manipur. This was an update to the advisory issued earlier.

Safety of Canadian citizens is our first priority: Kamal Kheda

Kamal Kheda, an Indian-origin minister in the Canadian government, has also made several tweets.

Kamal Kheda writes, “The safety of Canadian citizens is our first priority. “Unlawful actions against our citizens on Canadian soil will not be tolerated.”

India's Foreign Ministry said- All allegations of Canada are absurd. Similar allegations were made by the Canadian Prime Minister to our PM Modi and they were completely rejected.

Canada not looking to escalate the situation: Trudeau

The Canadian Prime Minister's stance appeared somewhat softer on Tuesday night. He said- We do not want to increase this tension. We have put forward some facts. We want to work with the Indian government on this issue so that everything can be clear. Trudeau said that India has to take these issues seriously.

While Trudeau emphasized that Canada was not looking to provoke or escalate the situation, the Indian government rejected its accusation as "absurd and motivated." India made a mention of Khalistani terrorists and extremists sheltered in Canada. 

Canadian opposition distancing from PM Trudeau

The Canadian opposition seems to be distancing itself from Prime Minister Trudeau on the issue. Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre said on social media – Our Prime Minister should speak clearly and directly. If they have evidence then they should present it to the public. Only when this happens will people be able to decide who is right and who is wrong. The surprising thing is that Trudeau is not presenting any facts. Only statements are coming out from their side, anyone can do this.

India had been pressuring countries like Canada, Australia, Britain, and the United States, which have significant Sikh communities, to crack down on the Khalistan movement.

Pro-Khalistan protests had taken place in London and San Francisco, causing tension with the Indian government.

This diplomatic controversy unfolds as Western nations seek to strengthen their geopolitical and trade partnerships with India.

Western countries react

Western countries have been cautious in reacting to the tensions between India and Canada. Analysts explain the dilemma facing Western governments. The West acknowledges Canada as an ally but values their relationship with India as a key strategic partner.

Australia's Foreign Ministry has reacted to the tension between Canada and India.

Australia's Foreign Ministry, in response to a question asked by journalists, said - Canada's allegations are worrying and we are keeping an eye on the investigation and developments.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Penny Wong said- Australia believes that all countries should follow the law and respect each other's sovereignty. We have expressed our concerns to senior Indian officials.

America has described the deteriorating relations between India and Canada as extremely worrying. The US and Australia are also India’s partners of the Quad group of countries which have evolved to counter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific.

Britain said that it was in touch with Canada over the “serious allegations”.

UK foreign minister James Cleverly tweeted, “All countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. We are in regular contact with our Canadian partners about serious allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament. Important that Canada’s investigation runs its course and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

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