Canada-India Relations Strained Over Killing of Sikh Activist in Vancouver

Tensions between Canada and India reached new heights on Tuesday

by Faruk Imamovic
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Canada-India Relations Strained Over Killing of Sikh Activist in Vancouver
© Getty Images News/Dave Chan

Tensions between Canada and India reached new heights on Tuesday, following allegations from Ottawa implying New Delhi's potential involvement in the assassination of a Sikh activist on Canadian ground. As the verbal sparring intensified, both nations expelled senior diplomats, marking a significant dip in their bilateral relationship.

A Controversial Killing

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old advocate for an independent Sikh state, was fatally shot in June outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that his administration was delving into "credible allegations" suggesting Indian government agents might have orchestrated Nijjar's killing.

India had previously labeled Nijjar a "terrorist" due to his political stance. Speaking emphatically in the Parliament, Trudeau stated, “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.

” He further appealed to the Indian government for cooperation, emphasizing the gravity of the situation and the need for transparency. Reacting swiftly to the accusations, Ottawa declared the expulsion of a high-ranking Indian diplomat from Canada mere hours after Trudeau's speech.

Diplomatic Repercussions

India didn't take long to respond. By Tuesday, New Delhi had announced that a senior Canadian diplomat was to exit India within five days. A statement from the Indian foreign ministry clarified the move, voicing concerns over the "interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities." The Indian foreign ministry didn't mince words when addressing the allegations, terming them “absurd and motivated”.

They believe these claims are a diversionary tactic, attempting to divert attention away from Khalistani terrorists and extremists harboured in Canada, who pose a direct threat to India's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

It's clear that the aftermath of Hardeep Singh Nijjar's tragic death has sent ripples across international diplomacy, underscoring the fragility of international relations and the necessity for transparent communication between nations.

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