Canada-India Tensions: Allegations of Indian involvement in Sikh separatist’s murder fuel diplomatic row

The recent accusation made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Indian agents may have been behind the murder of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil has sparked a heated diplomatic row between the two countries. Trudeau first made this allegation on Monday, which was vehemently rejected by India as “absurd”. The victim, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was designated as a terrorist by India in 2020 and was shot dead outside a temple in June. In response to Trudeau’s claims, India and Canada have expelled a diplomat each and India has suspended visa services for Canadians. Additionally, Canada has reduced its personnel in India due to threats received on social media.

Trudeau, speaking at the UN General Assembly, reiterated his claims and emphasized that Canada is standing up for the “rules-based international order”. When questioned about the evidence supporting these allegations, Trudeau highlighted Canada’s rigorous and independent justice system and stressed the need for the justice processes to unfold with integrity. He also mentioned that he had a direct and frank conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding his concerns.

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed willingness to consider specific information but stated that they had not received any such information thus far. The United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States have also expressed concern over Canada’s allegations. US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, asserted that the US and Canada are closely consulting on the matter and urged for a thorough investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The escalating tensions between India and Canada have strained their historically close ties and trade relations. Both countries need to be cautious in their responses to avoid further deterioration of bilateral relations. As the situation unfolds, it is important for both parties to engage in diplomatic dialogue and provide concrete evidence to support their respective positions.

This incident highlights the complexities surrounding separatist movements and the challenges they pose to diplomatic relations. It also underscores the need for international cooperation and adherence to the principles of justice and rule of law. The outcome of this diplomatic row will have implications for future interactions between India and Canada, as well as potentially impacting their trade and economic cooperation. Efforts should be made to address the underlying issues that led to this dispute, while ensuring the preservation of diplomatic channels for resolution.