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Dosanjh blames Canadian ‘footsie with Khalistanis’ for cold reception to Trudeau

Dosanjh traced the genesis of the present chill in the Indo-Canadian relations to the rebuff dealt by the Canadian foreign minister to Capt, when he wanted to address the Punjabi diaspora in Canada in 2015.

punjab Updated: Feb 21, 2018 10:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Justin Trudeau,Ujjal Dosanjh,Trudeau in India
Liberal Party leader and former premier of British Columbia Ujjal Dosanjh (HT File)

Liberal Party leader and former premier of British Columbia Ujjal Dosanjh has blamed the Indian government’s cool reception to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the “footsie” played by Canadian politicians with Khalistan sympathisers.

Mincing no words in an interaction with CBC News Network’s Natasha Fatah on Tuesday, Dosanjh said Canada cannot afford to interfere in the internal affairs of India, either directly or indirectly. Saying that the Khalistan movement was long dead in Punjab and India, he rued that it continued to find traction in Canada due to politicians of all hues “playing footsie” with Khalistanis.

“That is what irritates India… if you want to develop a relationship with the sixth largest economy of the world, then you have to be mindful of these concerns,” said Dosanjh.

Welcoming Trudeau’s move seeking a meeting with Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Dosanjh said Canada has a great potential of increasing trade with India. A meeting with Amarinder will be a step in that direction.

Dosanjh traced the genesis of the present chill in the Indo-Canadian relations to the rebuff dealt by the Canadian foreign minister to Capt, when he wanted to address the Punjabi diaspora in Canada in 2015. “There were four Sikhs in the cabinet, they were aware of what the foreign minister was writing to Capt…When he (Capt) spoke about his concerns of Khalistan, everyone in Canada just brushed him off... He was offended and he knew this had been initiated by a Khalistani group…That is the origin of this problem.”

Dosanjh also blamed this rebuff for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cold treatment to Trudeau. “The PM of India is mindful of the fact that they snubbed CM Capt Amarinder twice, once by rejecting his visit, and second by saying we are not interested in a meeting with him. That’s not how you create better relations.”

To a question whether separatists had gained more ground in the West, Dosanjh said, “In India people live with each other. They realise that the 1980s were terrible times, lots of mistakes were made by the government of India… Sikhs and Hindus, other than 1984, have never fought with each other, have never killed each other in history, and it was a tragic aberration. They have moved on, but the second, third generation Canadians here haven’t been able to deal with their own minds and they want a Khalistan.”

Underlining that Sikhs in Punjab and India don’t want a Khalistan, Dosanjh said Canada is becoming a butt of jokes in India. “Even former supporters of Khalistan laugh at these guys and they say look there is a lot of land in Alberta, which has the same percentage of Sikhs as in India, set up a Khalistan there.”

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 10:41 IST