“India’s response to Canada after Justin Trudeau’s ‘tonal shift'”
In recent years, the relationship between India and Canada has been strained due to various issues, including Canada’s stance on certain internal matters of India. The latest development that has further strained the ties between the two countries is the perceived “tonal shift” in the statements made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
India has expressed its concern over what it sees as a “space given to terrorists and anti-India elements” by Canada. The Indian government has taken a strong position, stating that it will not tolerate any interference in its internal affairs or support for activities that threaten its national security.
“I would not like to say whether they have noted a shift or not. Certainly, our positions have remained consistent, and we would hope that they would take action on such extremist elements that are misusing freedom of speech and expression in their country,” Bagchi added.
On Wednesday, the Canadian prime minister said he felt a tonal shift in relations with India after the United States indictment of an Indian national in the alleged murder of separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
The ties between India and Canada hit rock bottom after Trudeau accused Indian agents of conspiring to kill Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia. New Delhi rejected the charges as “absurd.”
“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they cannot bluster their way through this, and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” the Canadian prime minister said on Wednesday.
“There is an understanding that maybe just churning out attacks against Canada is not going to make this problem go away. We do not want to be in a situation of having a fight with India right now over this,” he added.
“We want to be working on that trade deal. We want to advance the Indo-Pacific strategy. But it is foundational for Canada to stand up for people’s rights, for people’s safety and for the rule of law. And that is what we are going to do,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau was referring to the US indictment accusing a man named Nikhil Gupta of working with an Indian government employee to plot to kill Pannun on American soil. The US said it foiled the alleged plan.
On December 7, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in Parliament that the Indian government has instituted an inquiry committee to look into the inputs received from the US. However, he made it clear that there would be “no equitable treatment” to Canada’s allegations as no specific evidence or inputs were provided to New Delhi by Ottawa.
The issue of terrorism has been a major concern for India, as it has faced numerous terrorist attacks in the past. The country has been actively working to combat terrorism and has made significant progress in this regard. Therefore, any perceived support or tolerance for terrorism by a foreign government is seen as a serious matter by India.
Canada has always been known for its commitment to human rights and freedom of expression. However, India believes that these principles should not be used as a shield to protect individuals or groups involved in activities that are detrimental to the security and stability of a sovereign nation.
India has raised its concerns with Canada, urging the government to take a more balanced and responsible approach. It has emphasized the need for Canada to understand the ground realities in India and to refrain from making statements that could be misinterpreted or misused by those with malicious intentions.
While India acknowledges the importance of freedom of speech and expression, it also believes that this freedom comes with certain responsibilities. Governments and leaders have a duty to ensure that their words and actions do not contribute to the spread of hatred, violence, or terrorism.
The Indian government has also highlighted the need for cooperation between countries in the fight against terrorism. It has called for a united front against terrorism and for countries to work together to dismantle terrorist networks and eliminate the sources of funding and support for these groups.
India has been actively engaging with the international community to address the issue of terrorism. It has sought support and cooperation from countries around the world to combat this global menace. Therefore, any perceived support for terrorists or anti-India elements by a foreign government is seen as a setback to India’s efforts in this regard.
India and Canada have had a long-standing relationship, and both countries have benefited from their bilateral ties. However, the recent tensions between the two nations have raised concerns about the future of this relationship.
India has made it clear that it values its relationship with Canada but cannot ignore actions or statements that undermine its national security and sovereignty. The ball is now in Canada’s court to address India’s concerns and take steps to rebuild trust and cooperation between the two countries.
It remains to be seen how Canada will respond to India’s strong stance. The coming months will be crucial in determining the future trajectory of the India-Canada relationship and whether the two countries can find common ground to address their differences and move forward.