Canada looks very different to US: What Jaishankar said amid row with Trudeau | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Canada looks very different to US: What Jaishankar said amid row with Trudeau

Sep 30, 2023 12:23 AM IST

India's tension with Canada well preceded Justin Trudeau's allegation on Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing, S Jaishankar said.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday spoke on world order, India's relationship with the US, Russia and also with Canada -- amid a major diplomatic meltdown between Canada and India. Jaishankar reiterated his accusation against Canada of being a safe haven for terrorism and said he spoke to Jake Sullivan and Antony Blinken on the issue during their meeting in the US. The crisis began after Trudeau alleged that India got Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar killed in Canada. New Delhi rejected the allegation and suspended visa services in Canada citing security threats. Jaishankar in the US said India is open to looking at any specific information regarding Nijjar killing, but Canada did not provide any. Trudeau, however, claimed his government shared intelligence with India weeks before.

Jaishankar said Canada has given space to terrorists because of political compulsion.
Jaishankar said Canada has given space to terrorists because of political compulsion.

At Hudson Institute in Washington DC, Jaishankar talked about the Canada row and other issues.

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'Not our policy'

"The Canadian PM made some allegations initially privately, and then publicly. And, our, response to him, both in private and public, were that what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy. And that if he had, if his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. Now, that's where that conversation is at this point of time..." Jaishankar said.

'Permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists'

"But to understand that conversation, you have to also appreciate that this has been an issue of great friction for many years with Canada, in fact going back to the 1980s. Then it became dormant. But in the last few years, it has come back very much into play, because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremist people who openly advocate violence. And they have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics..." the external affairs minister said.

Trafficking, violence, secessionism, terrorism

"For Americans, Canada perhaps looks very different. It depends on the interests, and where the shoe pinches. But for India, Canada is a country where organised crime from India, mixed with trafficking in people, mixed with secessionism, violence, terrorism --it's a very toxic combination of issues and people who have found operating space there," Jaishankar said.

'Tensions with Canada preceded what Mr Trudeau said'

"So a lot of our tensions with Canada which well preceded what Mr Trudeau said actually come out of that. And today I am in a situation where my diplomats are unsafe going to the embassy or to the consulates in Canada. They are publicly intimidated and that has actually compelled me to even temporarily suspend visa operations in Canada. Often countries look very different depending on how you see them and what your interests are, but I have this problem with Canada," Jaishankar said.

Sullivan, Blinken shared US views, assessment

Amid speculations over whether the Canada issue came up at the meetings between Jaishankar and top US officials, Jaishankar asserted that the issue was discussed. "They obviously shared the US views and the assessment of the whole situation. I explained to them, at some length, the summary of the concerns which I had. Hopefully, we both came out of those meetings better informed," Jaishankar said.

At the discussion, Jaishankar spoke at length on other issues regarding India's global image, ties with other countries

'India non-western, not anti-western'

“The world as we live it today is largely a Western construct. Now, if you look at the world architecture there's been obviously enormous change in the last 80 years… nothing illustrates it more than the G20 itself. So, the list of the G20 will tell you the easiest way of actually getting a sense of the changes in the world... “So, I make this very important distinction. Where India is concerned, India is non-Western. India is not anti-Western,” Jaishankar said

On India-US working relationship

"In the past we (India and US) have always dealt with each other, sometimes not entirely happily, but working with each other is really uncharted territory. It is a territory which we have both entered in the last few years. It has required both of us, to overcome what my Prime Minister called the hesitations of history when he spoke to Congress a few years ago. So how do we create that ability and the convergences and hopefully the comfort to work together? I think that would be very crucial to the future of the Pacific order," Jaishankar said.

'Unnamed country to the west of India...'

"There are countries in different parts of the world in crises of different kinds, and we have a few proximate to us. We saw Sri Lanka, which really went through a very, very almost economic meltdown last year, and we had to step forward. We actually did the largest bilateral lending that we have ever done, which was almost a package of $4 billion as a way of stabilizing their economy. The unnamed country to our west, their problems are much more long-term. They are much more deeper historically in terms of what happens when distortions have been introduced into the natural progress of an economy, excessive expenditure on the military or if your borrowing has not been prudent or if you have infrastructure which doesn't pay its way. I think there are a lot of factors there in multiple chickens are coming home to roost at the same time," Jaishankar said without naming Pakistan. The question too did not mention Pakistan.

On India-Russia relationship

"...If you consider international relations over the last 70 years, the US-Russian relations, China-Russia relations, the US-China relations...pretty much every big relationship in the last 70 years has seen a great deal of volatility which had sharp ups and downs. The India-Russia is very exceptional. It has been very steady. It may not be spectacular, so it may have stabilised at a certain level, but it has not seen that kind of ups and downs which your relationship with Russia or China's relations with Russia or Europe's relationship with Russia has seen through and that's in itself a statement. I think as a consequence of what is going on in Ukraine, it seems to me clear that in many ways Russia's relationship with the West has broken down and in that case, it's logical that Russia focuses more on the Asian side of Russia, though historically, Russia has always seen itself as a European power..." Jaishankar said.

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