As the world reels in shock over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusation that India carried out an extrajudicial murder of a Sheik leader on Canadian soil, media outlets in India went into attack mode.
India has issued a warning to its people coming to or living in Canada to “exercise extreme caution.” The warning came a day after tensions between the countries erupted, with each country dismissing a diplomat from the other.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was looking into “allegations” that the India’s government was involved in the execution of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia Canada. India firmly refuted the charges, calling them “absurd.”
According to analysts, relations between the two countries have reached an all-time low under the leadership of Canada’ Justin Trudeau.
On Wednesday, India’s foreign ministry said it issued the advise “in light of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada.”
The Indian government has frequently reacted harshly to demands for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh nation, made by Sikh separatists in Western countries. In India, the Khalistan movement peaked in the 1980s, with a violent insurgency based in the Sikh-majority Punjab state.
Canada has a large community of Sikhs
It was put down by force and today has little relevance in India, although it is still popular among the Sikh diaspora in places like Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Outside of Punjab, Canada has the biggest number of Sikhs and has witnessed multiple pro-Khalistan protests and marches. According to reports, India lodged a “formal complaint” with Canada in June over the safety of its diplomats there.
Delhi claimed in a statement on Wednesday that threats have recently been directed at its ambassadors and other Indians “who oppose the anti-India agenda.”
“Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travel to regions and potential venues in Canada where such incidents have occurred,” it said.
The Indian notification comes just hours after local media reported that Canada had issued a similar warning to its citizens visiting India. However, several have noted that Ottawa’s alert, which advises citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” due to the “risk of terrorist attacks throughout” India, has not been updated in several months.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that intelligence agencies were looking into whether “agents of the government of India” were involved in the execution of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen – India had branded him a terrorist in 2020.
On June 18, Nijjar was shot dead in his vehicle by two masked gunmen outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a speech to the Canadian parliament on Monday.
India reacted angrily, claiming that Canada was attempting to “shift the focus away from Khalistani terrorists and extremists” who had sought refuge in Canada.
Trudeau Asked to Come Clean
Meanwhile, Canada’s opposition leader, Pierre Poilievre, has urged that Trudeau ‘come clean’ on intelligence linking India in the murder of a Canadian. ‘We need all the facts we can get so that Canadians can make decisions,’ Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre told the National Post.
Pierre Poilievre has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “come clean” regarding suspicions that Indian government agents were involved in the assassination of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian territory.
Poilievre gave reporters reserved and occasionally terse comments Tuesday during a press conference when he was questioned on his party’s position on Trudeau’s bombshell allegations Monday that Canadian intelligence suggested a clear link between the Indian government and Nijjar’s June murder.
Poilievre stated that he received the same information from Trudeau confidentially as the prime minister announced in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.
When asked if he felt Canada’s relationship with India should change in light of the fresh charges, Poilievre urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide additional evidence.
“The prime minister must be truthful about all of the facts.” “We need all available evidence so that Canadians can make informed decisions,” Poilievre added.
Following a briefing from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) on Nijjar’s “assassination,” British Columbia’s Premier David Eby called on the Trudeau government to share more information on ongoing foreign interference and “transnational organised crime threats.”
Trudeau Kicks India’s Top Diplomat Out of Canada
On Monday, shortly after Trudeau made the claims in the House, Ottawa announced the expulsion of a top Indian diplomat who was India’s top intelligence officer in Canada. India replied by expelling a Canadian diplomat and describing the claims as “absurd and motivated.”
When asked if he thought Canada should go farther than declaring a single Indian diplomat persona non grata, Poilievre reiterated that Canadians needed to know more about the charges.
“The prime minister has not provided any evidence.” “He provided a statement, and I want to emphasise that he didn’t tell me anything more in private (than) he told Canadians in public,” Poilievre said.
Poilievre stated that there is a “real” risk if Trudeau refuses to disclose more information or if the charges prove to be false.
The Conservative leader also claimed Trudeau “said nothing and did nothing” about Chinese meddling in Canadian affairs for years, even while Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were imprisoned in China, comparing it to Trudeau’s sudden action in response to allegations of extrajudicial killing in India.
Last week, Poilievre shared a photo of the front page of the Toronto Sun, which noted the prime minister had “few friends” while in India earlier this month, and criticised Trudeau for being “repeatedly humiliated & trampled upon by the rest of the world.”
Trudeau’s revelations follow a difficult trip to India earlier this month for a G20 meeting, which highlighted how strained Trudeau’s relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had become.