Editorial: Indo-Canadian ties in tailspin

Editorial: Indo-Canadian ties in tailspin

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 11:28 PM IST
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Justin Trudeau | File

Indo-Canadian relations have hit another low with India strongly objecting to the recent “Khalsa Day” celebration in Toronto, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the chief guest. The event was organised by the Sikhs for Justice that espouses the cause of Khalistan. What has rattled the government is the banner displayed there, which described Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar as the killers of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In fact, India’s relations with Canada went into a tailspin last year when Trudeau told the Canadian parliament that India was behind the killing of Nijjar. It is a different matter that he could not present any evidence to implicate India, though he hinted that the Five Eyes Alliance — US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and Australia — was on board with him.

Assassination can never be India’s state policy, given its civilisational ethos of non-violence and professed adherence to truth, justice, and fair play. It is unfortunate that the day after India called Canada’s second-in-command in Delhi to express its protest against Trudeau’s questionable conduct, an American daily named an Indian official for the botched-up attempt to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the United States. India has consistently demanded proof that it is involved in Nijjar’s killing. It is Trudeau’s responsibility to provide it. Far from that, he has been pandering to his vote bank in the mistaken belief that extremism has support among the Sikhs in Canada. As it is, he wants another term as prime minister. True, he won three terms, but they were won with a diminishing majority. Also, his popularity has been at its lowest, and this explains why he considers the Sikh vote bank important for his political career.

While there is nothing wrong in cultivating the Sikh population, it is wholly absurd if Trudeau’s support for the minority community is seen as a licence for the Khalistanis to fish in troubled waters. And that is what is happening when “Modi Wanted” placards are displayed at his meetings. He should, instead, concentrate on improving the economy. There is considerable resentment against his immigration policy, under which the population has crossed the 40-million mark. Infrastructure, especially housing, is inadequate to meet the growing needs of the population. At one time, Canada’s medical system was one of the best in the world, but today there are signs that it has been in the doldrums. Pandering to extremism is a recipe for disaster.

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