24 Jun 2024  |   04:48am IST

Canada is committing hara-kiri

Days after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 outreach summit in Italy held recently, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said “he saw an opportunity” to engage with the newly formed Indian government on several issues, including economic ties and national security.

His comments assumed significance in the light of a diplomatic stand-off between the two countries that emerged last year, after Trudeau alleged that Indian agents could have been involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani terrorist, who was shot dead on June 18, 2023 by two unidentified men in the parking lot of a gurdwara in Surrey, in UK.

Just when one was hoping for improvement in ties between India and Canada, the Canadian Parliament held a moment of silence for Nijjar, enraging India.

India-Canada ties hit rock bottom after Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau a fingers at the Indian government over the killing of Nijjar. Both countries, in a tit-for-tat move, expelled diplomats and issued advisories for their citizens. A series of attacks occurred, targeting temples in various parts of the Western world, including Australia and Canada.

This sparked apprehensions within the Indian government growing suspicions that Khalistani separatist groups may be attempting to regroup and make a resurgence in India while operating from foreign soil, most prominent of them being Canada.

Canada has a long history of sheltering Khalistani militants, who caused bloodbath in Punjab during the 1980s demanding for a separate homeland. Although a significant portion of the unrest and violence in Punjab and support for Khalistani separatists was linked to Pakistan, which provided shelter to many of them, there were a large chunk of these separatists who had taken refuge in Canada, conducting anti-India terror activities with the tacit support of the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence or the ISI.

The worst terror attack conducted on any country from a foreign soil happened in the 1980s from Canada against India, by Khalistani militants, much before 9/11 happened against the USA.

In 1982, when India asked Canada for extradition of a Khalistani terrorist Talwinder Parmar, wanted in India for killing of police officers, Canada, under Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, refused the request by saying, ‘India does not recognise the British queen as head of state’. 

Parmar, who was the head of Khalistani terror organisation Babbar Khalsa, went on to bomb an Air India plane, called Kanishka, in 1985, which blew up mid-air off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people aboard. Notably, Khalistani terrorists had vowed to kill at least 50,000 Hindus. Furthermore, Parmar had threatened that Indian planes would fall from the sky and the Trudeau senior’s government remained silent.

With the resurgence of anti-India activities by the so-called Khalistani supporters in Canada has brought back the memories of the bloody eighties where Punjab was immersed in bloodbath. Naturally, Indian authorities had to act to prevent this radical group from reviving militancy in Punjab.

Despite India’s continuous objections, the Canadian government has been supporting Khalistani groups, instead of stopping its anti-India stand, which is primarily due to the influence of Sikh votes. Canada, which has a Sikh population of more than 770,000, about two percent of its total population, has seen a rise in pro-Khalistan voices from its soil and Trudeau has justified it by saying his country believes in “freedom of expression”.

So, now it is clear that Canada is or perhaps has become another Pakistan, which is harbouring anti-elements and allowing them to prick India. Pakistan’s anti-India activities since the last 75 years has left its economy almost bankrupt and stands isolated in the world. Similar fate awaits Canada.

Taking cue from Pakistan’s condition, the Canadian government, instead of patronising anti-India radicals, should give more importance to salvaging its economy, which is currently sinking.

India is the fifth largest economy in the world today. Canada is committing a hara-kiri by unnecessarily provoking India. The deteriorating ties between both the countries will hit Canada more than India. For Canada, Indian students coming to study there on student visa is a huge source of income. The volatile political situation could have implications for Indian students going to Canada, who constitute the biggest share amongst the international student population there.

It is estimated that students from Punjab alone spend over Rs 68,000 crore annually on education in Canada, highlighting the significant financial impact of these policy changes.

In today’s unipolar world, countries have to rise above petty domestic politics and look at national interest first. The signs are already clear that the international fraternity does not care about Canada’s so-called concerns, except for sporadic ranting by the USA.

Canada has no business in jeopardising India’s national security and this Indian regime has made it clear that it won’t tolerate terrorism against India, be it within the country or outside. The influential Sikh population in Canada should also force the federal government not to rake up the Khalistani issue as it won’t help their cause.


Idhar Udhar