India Takes Reciprocal Action, Expelling Unnamed Canadian Diplomat Amidst Escalating Tensions Over Allegations
New Delhi: In a move characterised as a reciprocal response to recent events, India has chosen to expel a senior Canadian diplomat whose identity remains undisclosed. The diplomat has been given a five-day window to depart India. This development follows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent accusation, implicating India in the June killing of a Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Trudeau has stated that his government possesses “credible allegations” connecting Nijjar’s killing to individuals linked to the Indian government. This allegation has markedly intensified tensions between the two nations. During an emergency parliamentary session, Trudeau emphasised the unacceptable nature of any foreign government’s involvement in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. Such involvement, he argued, constitutes a violation of sovereignty and runs counter to the principles upheld by free, open, and democratic societies.
In response to Trudeau’s allegations, India summoned Canadian High Commissioner Cameron MacKay, firmly rejecting the claims and expressing profound concern over Canadian political figures openly sympathising with these elements. The Indian government has contended that these unverified allegations divert attention from the presence of Khalistani terrorists and extremists who have sought refuge in Canada, posing a continuous threat to India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Highlighting Canada’s history of accommodating various illegal activities, including murders, human trafficking, and organised crime, the Indian government called on Canada to take prompt action against all “anti-India elements” operating within its borders.
Canada, in its response, has chosen to withhold the identity of the expelled Indian diplomat. However, Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie disclosed that the individual held the position of head of India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), in Canada.
At the heart of this dispute is Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who led the Khalistani Tiger Force and the Canadian branch of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). Nijjar was fatally shot near a gurdwara in Surrey in June. Originally hailing from Punjab’s Jalandhar, Nijjar had relocated to Canada in 1997 and was wanted in India for his alleged role as the mastermind behind the activities of the Khalistani Tiger Force, a designated terror group.
India had previously announced a cash reward for Nijjar’s apprehension in connection with the murder of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar and his alleged involvement in the 2007 cinema bombing in Punjab. Additionally, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was probing recent attacks on Indian diplomatic missions in Canada, the UK, and the US.
Canada has emerged as a significant hub for expatriate Sikhs, raising concerns about the proliferation of extremism in recent years. Over the past few months, Canada has witnessed various Khalistani activities, including protests outside the Indian Embassy and the display of threatening posters targeting Indian diplomats.
In light of the escalating diplomatic tensions, Canada has made the decision to postpone a scheduled trade mission to India, originally slated for October. This decision comes following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expression of concerns at the G20 summit in Delhi regarding the surge in secessionist activities and attacks on Indian diplomatic missions by Khalistan supporters in Canada.