Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, introduced on Monday that there was “credible” info linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June.
The announcement marks a major worsening of bilateral ties between the 2 international locations at a time when India is already sad that Canadian authorities will not be cracking down on Sikh protesters who need their very own unbiased homeland.
Canadian authorities say they’ve expelled a “key Indian diplomat” The diplomat is the top of India’s overseas intelligence company in Canada.
Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar?
On 18 June this yr Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia.
Nijjar had campaigned for an unbiased Sikh nation – generally known as Khalistan – to be carved out of India’s Punjab state. He was wished by Indian authorities and had been designated as a “terrorist” in July 2020.
He had been warned by Canada’s spy company about threats towards him, in response to the World Sikh Group of Canada, which alleged he was “assassinated in a focused capturing”.
India’s Punjab state – which is about 58% Sikh and 39% Hindu – was rocked by a violent Khalistan separatist motion within the Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties, during which 1000’s of individuals died. At present, that motion’s most vocal advocates are primarily among the many Punjabi abroad diaspora.
Canada is dwelling to one of many largest abroad communities of Indian origin, which quantity roughly 1.4 million out of an total Canadian inhabitants of 40 million. About 770,000 individuals reported Sikhism as their faith within the 2021 census.
Canada has the best inhabitants of Sikhs outdoors their dwelling state of Punjab.
India has typically complained to Canada’s governments concerning the actions of Sikh hardliners among the many Indian diaspora who, it says, are attempting to revive the insurgency.
In June, India’s overseas minister hit out at Canada for permitting a float in a parade depicting the 1984 assassination of then-Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards, perceived to be glorification of violence by Sikh separatists.
In 2018, Trudeau assured India that Canada wouldn’t help anybody making an attempt to revive a separatist motion in India however he has repeatedly stated he respects the precise to free speech and meeting of protesters to show.
What does this imply for Canada-India relations?
The 2 international locations, which earlier this yr stated they might agree the outlines of a commerce deal by the top of 2023, have now frozen talks on the settlement. Canada gave few particulars whereas India cited “sure political developments”.
India is Canada’s tenth largest buying and selling associate and plans for a commerce deal have been within the pipeline for over a decade. Nonetheless, in 2022, bilateral commerce between the 2 amounted to simply C$13.7bn out of a complete of C$1.52 trillion of all Canadian commerce, in response to Statistics Canada.
Reuters contributed to this report