Justin Trudeau

Canada Not Looking To Escalate Situation With India: Trudeau 

Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said that his country was not “looking to escalate the situation with India,” adding that Ottawa wants remain on the ground in New Delhi to help Canadians, Reuters reported. 

“Canada is not looking to escalate the situation with India, will continue to engage responsibly and constructively with New Delhi. We want to be on the ground in India to help the Canadian families there,” Reuters quoted Trudeau as saying. 

Trudeau had said last week that Canada is still committed to building closer ties with India, despite “credible allegations of the Indian government’s involvement” in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canada-based National Post reported. India has rejected the claims as “absurd” and “motivated”.

Pointing to the increasing influence of India worldwide, Trudeau said that it is “extremely important” that Canada and its allies continue to engage with India.

“India is a growing economic power and important geopolitical player. And as we presented with our Indo-Pacific strategy, just last year, we’re very serious about building closer ties with India,” he had told reporters.

“At the same time, obviously, as a rule of law country, we need to emphasize that India needs to work with Canada to ensure that we get the full facts of this matter,” National Post quoted Trudeau as saying.

Trudeau’s remarks have come amid a diplomatic row between India and Canada which started after the Canadian PM levelled allegations.

Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was killed outside a gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey on June 18. India has also expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a reciprocal move to Canada expelling a senior Indian diplomat.

During a debate in the Canadian Parliament, Trudeau claimed Canada’s national security officials had reasons to believe that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of Nijjar.  India outrightly rejected the claims.

Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremist people who openly advocate violence is very permissive.

“This has been an issue of great friction for many years with Canada. But in the last few years, it has come back very much into play because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremist people who openly advocate violence. And they have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”

Speaking on the India-Canada row in Washington, Jaishankar stated that the Indian diplomats

“…For us, it has certainly been a country where, organized crime from India, mixed with trafficking in people, mixed with secessionism, violence, terrorism– it’s a very toxic combination of issues and people, who have found operating space there.”

“Today, I’m actually in a situation where my diplomats are unsafe going to the embassy, or to the consulate in Canada. They are publicly intimidated. And that has actually compelled me to temporarily suspend even visa operations in Canada,” he added.

Jaishankar said that he also spoke with the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US State Secretary Antony Blinken about Canada.

“The Canadian PM made some allegations initially privately, and then publicly. And our response to him, both in private and public– what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy. And that if he had, if his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. Now, that’s where that conversation is at this point of time,” Jaishankar said.

Amid strained ties with Canada, India also issued an advisory for its citizens and those who are travelling to Canada to exercise “utmost caution in view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” in the country. (ANI)

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