Tensions between Canada and India are at an all-time high. This tension is only around the murder of a Sikh leader Hardeep Singh! Probably the answer would be – no. The mercury in this tension was rising long ago. From September last year it slowly started getting hotter. And June 18 of this year will bring it to its peak. On this day, two assailants shot and killed Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nizar near Vancouver, Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is investigating this. They get ‘reliable information’ from it. It is said that the Indian government and its intelligence agency ‘R’ are involved in this murder. Justin Trudeau told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recently concluded G-20 summit. But Modi did not take it into consideration. As a result, Trudeau called an emergency session of Parliament last Monday. There he and his foreign minister, Melanie Joly, publicly raised allegations against India. Following this, both countries expelled one senior diplomat each the next day. India suspends Indian visas for Canadians. Trudeau has sought India’s help in a full investigation. The United States has supported it.
Apparently, these events were only revealed by Trudeau last Monday, starting from here. but no The tension between Canada and India has gradually increased over the months. First of all, the movement for an independent state of the Sikh community in Punjab, India centered on the ‘Khalistan’ movement. Hardeep Singh Nijar was a staunch supporter of this movement. This movement started in the 1970s. It leads to terrible violence. Thousands of people lost their lives in Punjab. This movement of Sikhs is viewed by the Indian government as a terrorist act, a separatist act. As such, India has repeatedly termed Hardeep Singh Nizar as a terrorist. However, Nizar’s supporters denied the allegation. In 2020, the Indian government declared seven others, including Hardeep Singh Nijar and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of Sikhs for Justice, as terrorists. Although this Khalistan movement of Sikhs met within India, pro-Khalistan groups became very active internationally. India and Canada continued to maintain regular diplomatic contact despite tensions over this for many years. Top officials were exchanging bilateral visits.
But everything started to change from September 2022. On 15th September 2018 (ex-Twitter), the Indian High Commission in Ottawa condemned the anti-India mural at the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Toronto. It said, I request the Canadian authorities to investigate this incident and quickly demand action against those involved. On September 20, India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued an advisory alert for Indian citizens and students. It warns of hate crimes, gang violence and anti-Indian activities in Canada. It is said that none of those involved in these crimes have been brought to justice.
On March 23, 2023, Indian-origin Canadian lawmaker Iqvinder Gahira asked Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly. In response, Joly said that the government is aware of the situation arising in Punjab. Through this, it was hinted to launch an operation to arrest the Sikh leader Amritpal Singh in Punjab. Amritpal was running away. “We are following the situation very closely,” Melanie Joly said. We expect a stable situation.
Hundreds of people rallied outside the Indian consulate in Vancouver against New Delhi as the manhunt for Amritpal Singh was underway. As a result of that Indian operation, pro-Khalistan protesters protested outside Indian diplomatic missions in several countries including the United States, Britain, and Canada. On March 25, India summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to India to “strongly protest” against the activities of “separatists and extremists” at Canadian diplomatic missions and consulates.
On June 5, Canada’s National Security Advisor, Jody Thomas, alleged that India was one of the top foreign interventionists in the country. On the other hand, the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 was displayed in a parade in Brampton, Canada. India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar criticized Canada on June 8. Canada’s High Commissioner to India, Cameron McKay, responded on the same day. He wrote on X – The assassination of the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has been celebrated. I was shocked to see news of such an event in Canada. Glorification of violence or hate has no place in Canada. I directly condemn these activities. But on June 10, Hindustan Times of India quoted a statement from the office of Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, Canada. It is said that the police have seen the video. It showed that there was no hate crime.
In such a context, Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijar was shot dead outside a Sikh shrine in Canada’s Surrey region on June 18. Responding to a question on the Khalistan issue on June 29, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the Canadian government is dealing with the issue in such a way that it seems like it is limited to their vote bank issue. He further said that if these activities pose a threat to national security and integrity, India will take action.
India summoned Canada’s High Commissioner on July 4 over the activities of pro-Khalistan supporters over a poster targeting Indian diplomats in Canada. In response to this, Canada’s Foreign Minister Joly said that Ottawa has taken the safety of diplomats very seriously under the Vienna Convention. Then on July 6, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that threats to diplomats were taken seriously by New Delhi and Ottawa.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been accused of relying on the votes of the Sikh community. For this he has taken a relaxed position. Trudeau denied the allegations on July 6. Responding to a question, he said, Canada always takes serious violence and threats of violence very seriously. Our serious action against terrorism is and will continue to be.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in New Delhi on September 10. In this regard, the statement of the Ministry of External Affairs of India – He (Modi) expressed serious concern about the continued activities of anti-India extremists in Canada. They are encouraging separatism. Inciting violence against Indian diplomats. Damaging diplomatic installations. The Indian community in Canada is being threatened. Canada should be aware of their crimes, drug syndicates, human trafficking. Both countries need cooperation on such threats.
On the other hand, on extremism and foreign interference in Canada, Trudeau told reporters in New Delhi – both issues came up in the discussion. Canada will always stand for freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, freedom of peaceful protest. It is very important to us. But we are always against violence. Our stand against hate. But back home, on September 19, Trudeau made a direct complaint against the Indian government in the House of Commons. He said that the Indian government and ‘RA’ were involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijar. There is credible evidence on this. The excitement begins. Even though it has been inside for so long, that excitement has spread to the world. Initially the matter was an issue within the governments of the two countries but now it has reached the whole world. Pakistan has given a strong response in this regard. They said, India has once again proved to the world that it is a terrorist state. Big leaders are making such comments. Now it is difficult to say where the resolution of this crisis lies – or whether the rift in India-Canada relations will widen. But from what it seems at the moment, solving the problems caused by it will be very difficult.