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S Jaishankar on what is ‘damaging’ India-Canada ties: ‘These Khalistani forces…’

Jan 02, 2024 12:16 PM IST

S Jaishankar said Canadian politics have given space to Khalistani forces and allowed them to indulge in activities that impact ties between India and Canada.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar has claimed that Canadian politics have given space to Khalistani forces and also allowed them to indulge in activities that impact bilateral ties between India and Canada.

External affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.(REUTERS)

"The issue at heart is the fact that in Canadian politics, these Khalistani forces have been given a lot of space and have been allowed to indulge in activities which I think are damaging to the relationship, clearly not in India's interest, and not in Canada's interest either. But unfortunately, that is the state of their politics," S Jaishankar said in an interview with news agency ANI.

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Clarifying that the G20 summit in New Delhi had no relation to the Khalistani issue in Canada, Jaishankar said, “The Khalistan issue is not new. The Khalistan issue has existed for years...I can explain my government, my prime minister, and my book. It's not for me to speculate on other prime ministers.”

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Diplomatic relations between India and Canada hit rock bottom due to a very vocal pro-Khalistan lobby in Canada threatening Indian diplomats posted in the country.

Justin Trudeau targets India over Nijjar killing

In September last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the stunning allegation in the House of Commons that there was "credible intelligence" linking India's government to the death of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside his gurdwara in Surrey, B.C on June 18.

India outrightly rejected the allegations and called them "absurd and motivated."

Trudeau's allegations followed Canada's decision to seek a "pause" in the negotiations for an Early Progress Trade Agreement.

Following the diplomatic row, India asked Canada to withdraw 41 of its diplomats from the country to ensure mutual parity in diplomatic presence.

In October, Canada complied with New Delhi's demand.

The Canadian allegations were followed by a US indictment in November outlining a foiled plot to kill Canadian-American Sikh activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

In November, the US federal prosecutors charged that one Nikhil Gupta was working with an Indian government employee in a foiled plot to kill Pannun, who holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada.

India has already constituted a probe committee to investigate allegations by the US prosecutors. Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha earlier that Canada has not shared any specific evidence or inputs with India.

Days after Trudeau's allegations in September, India temporarily suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens and asked Ottawa to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country to ensure parity.

India resumed some visa services in Canada last month, more than a month after they were suspended.

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