Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat on Monday as it investigates what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called credible allegations that the Indian government was involved in the assassination of a Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Canada.
Trudeau ,the Prime Minister of Canada stated in Parliament that the country’s intelligence agencies have been probing the claims since Nijjar was killed on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia.
The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and notified of the Government of India’s determination to deport a senior Canadian diplomat stationed in India. The diplomat in question has been instructed to leave India within the next five days.
The decision underscores the Government of India’s growing worry over Canadian diplomats interfering in our internal affairs and their involvement in anti-India actions.This was reported by the Office of the Minister of External Affairs
Who is Hardeep Singh Nijjar?
Nijjar was born in 1977 in the district of Jalandhar in India’s northern state of Punjab and moved to Canada in 1997 to work as a plumber. Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a prominent Sikh leader in Canada and a vocal backer of a separate Khalistani state.
He was the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a designated terrorist organisation by India.In Surrey, a Vancouver suburb, he was voted leader of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara, a Sikh house of worship. He was still in that position when he died.
Hewas shot dead in his truck outside a temple in Surrey, British Columbia, in June 2023. His murder remains unsolved and has fueled tensions between Canada and India.Hundreds of people protested outside the Indian embassy in Vancouver following his assassination, alleging that foreign hands were involved, according to local media at the time.
Khalistan and Canada
The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement that seeks to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. The movement has a significant presence in Canada, which has a large Sikh diaspora.
The Khalistan movement in Canada began in the 1980s, following the Indian government’s military operation against the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. The operation was seen by many Sikhs as an attack on their religion and culture. As a result, many Sikhs fled to Canada, where they established Khalistani organisations and began to advocate for an independent Sikh state.
In recent years, the Khalistan movement in Canada has become more vocal and active. The Canadian government has stated that it does not support the Khalistan movement and that it is committed to the territorial integrity of India. However, the government has also said that it respects the right of Canadians to express their views on the Khalistan issue.
India and Canada trade relations
With the deterioration of relations, a major issue looms over India-Canada commercial relations, since Canada ranks as the 18th largest outside contributor to India’s economy, funnelling around $3.3 billion into the country between April 2000 and March 2023.
This Canadian investment represents around 0.5 percent of the total FDI inflow into India during this time period. Furthermore, India will be Canada’s ninth-largest trade partner in 2022. Notably, the services and infrastructure industries together accounted for a sizable amount.
The number of goods traded increased consistently and significantly in 2022, culminating in a total trade value of $8 billion. Notably, Indian exports to Canada were $4 billion, matching the sum of Canadian imports, which likewise totaled $4 billion.
With opposing diplomatic expulsions and allegations of Indian government participation in the killing of a Sikh activist on Canadian soil, tensions between Canada and India have reached new heights. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unlikely to change his stance on the Khalistan issue.
Canada also has one of the largest foreign communities of Indian descent, with approximately 1.4 million people out of a total Canadian population of 40 million. In the 2021 census, approximately 770,000 people declared Sikhism as their religion.
Both countries must approach the matter with caution and interact with numerous parties in order to deescalate the situation. Negotiations should be used to resolve this dispute.