The Canadian Prime Minister, made a surprising claim by connecting the June killing of a Canadian Khalistani leader to “individuals associated with the Government of India.” His statement, in which he mentioned sharing evidence with India and discussing it with the Indian Prime Minister during a recent bilateral meeting, has initiated a series of consequential developments.
GS2- Bilateral Agreements affecting India’s interests.
With reference to the recent developments in India-Canada relations, what should be the way forward to ensure an optimum decency in bilateral relations? (10 marks, 150 words)
Recent developments in the incident:
- Following Canada’s expulsion of a senior Indian diplomat, India responded by summoning the Canadian High Commissioner and expelling Canada’s Station chief for intelligence matters on Tuesday.
- The United States and Australia, who are partners with Canada in the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing agreement, have expressed serious concerns about this situation.
- The External Affairs Ministry has also accused Canadian diplomats of engaging in “anti-India” activities, indicating that more diplomats may come under scrutiny. In response, the Canadian government has mentioned violations of international rule of law and Canadian sovereignty, which could lead to further areas of contention.
Impact of the incident:
- Notably, Prime Minister of Canada received support from his political rivals in Parliament, who made critical remarks about India. This suggests that the strained relations may persist even if a different government comes to power in the 2025 elections.
- It’s worth emphasizing that unlike the situation with Pakistan, where such allegations, name-calling, and public confrontations have become routine, Canada is part of the Western NATO alliance and home to both Indians and people of Indian origin. The impact of this rupture is likely to be felt on a broader scale.
- Earlier this year, India and Canada attempted another reset with visits by Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and expedited free trade negotiations.
- However, following the contentious Trudeau-Modi meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit and Mr. Trudeau’s recent allegations, diplomatic courtesies appear to have come to an end, and the free trade agreement talks have been put on hold.
At this critical juncture, for the Canadian leadership, the top priority should be to substantiate his grave allegations publicly, or acknowledge his inability to do so. India’s claims regarding Canadian safe havens for anti-India, separatist Khalistani groups with a history of violence have already been supported by numerous incidents, dating back to the early 1980s and including recent instances of targeting Indian diplomats and Indian community centers. New Delhi should also carefully consider its approach to its relationship with Canada. The Indian government had previously welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada in 2015, which marked the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister since 1973, with the hope that decades of mistrust over the Khalistan issue could be put aside. There is a need to take recent courses into account while further engaging with Canada.