Canada’s Khalistan Challenge: India’s Message to Canada on Extremism

by Antariksh Singh

In a significant development during the G20 summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his deep concerns about the “continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” during a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canada has recently become a focal point for expatriate Sikhs, where extremist sentiments have gained traction, prompting international attention.

The Indian foreign ministry issued a statement detailing PM Modi’s message to Trudeau, highlighting that extremist elements in Canada are actively “promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, causing damage to diplomatic facilities, and posing threats to the Indian community and their places of worship.” The statement also underlined the concerning nexus between these forces and organized crime, drug syndicates, and human trafficking, urging Canada to join efforts in addressing these threats.

Furthermore, PM Modi emphasized that a strong foundation based on mutual respect and trust is crucial for fostering a productive India-Canada relationship, according to the foreign ministry.

In response to these concerns, Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledged that he had discussed Khalistani extremism and “foreign interference” with PM Modi on several occasions over the years. Trudeau affirmed Canada’s commitment to defending “freedom of expression, conscience, and peaceful protest,” while remaining steadfast in preventing violence and opposing hatred. He emphasized that the actions of a few individuals should not tarnish the reputation of the entire community or Canada as a whole. Trudeau also stressed the importance of upholding the rule of law and addressing foreign interference.

In recent years, Canada has witnessed multiple instances of Khalistani activities, including protests outside the Indian Embassy, assaults on Indian-origin journalists, the organization of parades celebrating the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and the appearance of threatening posters targeting Indian diplomats. India has consistently lodged protests against these incidents.

The concerns raised during this high-level meeting highlight the importance of cooperation between India and Canada in addressing extremist elements and maintaining a strong, respectful, and trust-based relationship between the two nations.

Antariksh Singh

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