Canadian Prime Minister in a press conference in Montreal, Canada said that he was assured by the Americans on the issue of involvement of India in the killing of Hardip Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani Canadian citizen. But in a statement from the US Department of State, no specifics were mentioned about the current geopolitical tension involving India or any possible discussions and talks surrounding it. It only included the areas of cooperation between the US and India and the importance of the upcoming 2+2 dialogue. Later in a talk at the Hudson Institute, External Foreign Minister Jaishankar clarified that the point involving Canada was raised by NSA Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Blinken on the assessments of the US.
Justin Trudeau also clarified that the rumours of him doing drugs when in New Delhi for a G20 meeting were misleading, which were levelled at him by a retired Indian diplomat.
On this issue, many experts have observed that the allies of Canada are hesitant to speak up or condemn India based on the allegations. Many of them are in the last or early stages of finalizing trade talks with India and don’t want to sabotage the much-worked-out deal, which they have worked hard to deliver. When asked UK leader Rishi Sunak, he mentioned the trade deal, while dodging the question.
The Canadian leader in the same press meet, expressed a subtle desire to re-engage with the global South economic giant while reiterating the same allegations. These explosive allegations were levelled on India on the 18th of September in the House of Commons, by the Prime Minister himself based on credible allegations and intel reports shared by the five eyes i.e., US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
In the weeks to come, after the dirt was thrown at the Government of India, the image of Canada has taken a toll; ranging from the downgrading of the diplomats of Canada in India to the rising aspersions on the conduct of Canadian Parliament in the engagement with the Nazi World War 2 veteran. The front with India has seen a diplomatic spat that has escalated from expulsions of senior officials to downsizing of the presence of the Canadian consulate service; which has a presence of about 7 offices as compared to India having a presence of 3 offices. As for the event where a Nazi veteran was felicitated, a global media outrage and a condemnation was done; later resulting in the resignation of the speaker of the House of Commons.
While on the domestic side, the state of Punjab witnessed the unleashing of heavy police machinery co-ordinating with NIA; conducting the raids on several locations in a day, and later seizing the properties of separatist leader, Pannu in Chandigarh. The crackdown on the Khalistani supporters was seen as a strong message from the Indian government to Canada and its allies, who have been accused of harbouring and supporting the anti-India elements. The Indian government has also demanded the extradition of Nijjar and other suspects involved in the killing of innocent civilians and security personnel in India.
With the opening of Pandora’s box, and the re-release of the Khalistan monster, the foreign relation with some Western nations has deteriorated. Earlier, a similar kind of tension blew up with Britain. On the attack, where the High Commission in London was attacked, and also a recent scuffle on 29th September 2023 where a senior Indian diplomat was manhandled by a Khalistan supporter during his Gurudwara visit in Scotland. These incidents have strained the ties between India and Britain, who have been trying to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal.