There is a lot of tension between Canada and India over the killing of Canadian citizen and pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In this context, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his country is interested in strengthening and deepening the existing diplomatic relations with India, but no concessions will be made in the investigation of Hardeep’s murder.
In a speech to the House of Commons, the lower house of the Canadian Parliament on Thursday (September 28), Trudeau said India is an emerging economic power and geopolitically very important. Last year we presented Canada’s policy on diplomatic relations with the Indo-Pacific region. According to that principle, it is in the interest of the country that we have to strengthen our diplomatic ties with India and we are keen on this.
“However, we cannot support any actions that violate the laws and constitution of Canada. We want a full investigation of what happened and India needs to act in this regard.
Last June, pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead by an assailant in front of a Gurudwara (place of worship of Sikhs) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 1977, Hardeep went to Canada from Jalandhar district of Punjab state, India, later he also acquired feminism there.
Meanwhile, Hardeep, a senior leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force and Sikhs for Justice Canada branch, two political groups campaigning for a self-proclaimed Sikh state of Khalistan Qaim, was one of India’s listed accused. India was keen to bring Hardeep back to face trial.
Both Khalistan Tiger Force and Sikhs for Justice are banned in India due to their separatist activities. However, both organizations are quite active in the United States and Canada.
Canada has the largest number of Sikhs after India. Sikhs constitute 5 percent of the country’s total population. The Canadian government has never stopped the activities of the Khalistan Tiger Force and Sikhs for Justice despite several calls from India over the past few years.
Canada’s statement on this issue is that since peaceful non-violent movement is legal in the country’s constitution, it is not possible for the Canadian government to take any action outside of the constitution.
Canada’s recent conflict with India originates from here. The G-20 summit held in New Delhi last September 9-10 also showed signs of cold diplomatic relations between the two countries.
On September 18, a week after returning from New Delhi after the conference, Trudeau told the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament, that his country’s intelligence agencies had found credible evidence of the Indian government’s involvement in Hardeep’s murder.
“The involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said in a speech to Parliament, describing the incident as a “grave humiliation” for Canada.
Criticizing the Indian government, he further said that the killing of Hardeep is against the basic principles of how a free, open and democratic society works.
The day after Trudeau made such allegations, the Trudeau government expelled the head of the Canadian branch of the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
On the other hand, India, furious over the expulsion of the top intelligence officer, ordered a senior diplomat from the Canadian embassy in Delhi to leave India the next day as a countermeasure. Since then, Canada and India have been involved in unprecedented tensions.