Amidst the ongoing diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar voiced concerns over what he referred to as “organized crime, related to secessionist forces, violence, and extremism” in Canada. During a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, EAM Jaishankar emphasized that these issues have been allowed to persist in Canada, in part due to political reasons.
He pointed out that Canada has witnessed a surge in organized crime activities associated with secessionist forces, as well as incidents of violence and extremism in recent years. These issues, according to Jaishankar, are deeply interconnected. He also noted that the Indian government has provided a substantial amount of information to the Canadian authorities regarding organized crime, including details about its leadership operating from Canada, and has made numerous extradition requests.
Expressing concern over incidents involving threats to Indian diplomats and attacks on Indian consulates, Jaishankar suggested that these events have been allowed to occur due to political reasons. He mentioned that such actions are often justified by citing the principles of democracy.
Jaishankar also addressed the allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had accused the Indian government of being involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India promptly rejected these claims as “absurd” and “motivated.” Jaishankar stated that if the Canadian side provides specific information related to Nijjar’s killing, the Indian government is willing to take appropriate action.
Regarding the ongoing strain in India-Canada relations, India has suspended its visa services in Canada, and the Indian government issued an advisory for its citizens and travelers to Canada, urging them to exercise “utmost caution” due to rising anti-India activities, politically-condoned hate crimes, and criminal violence in the country.
In response to a question about the role of the Five Eyes alliance, which includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom, in the intelligence surrounding Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing, Jaishankar clarified that he is not part of the intelligence group and is not affiliated with the FBI. The Five Eyes alliance had reportedly shared intelligence related to Nijjar’s killing, and the FBI had issued warnings to US Sikh leaders about “credible threats” to their safety in this context.
The diplomatic tensions between India and Canada continue to evolve, and both nations are closely monitoring developments in this complex diplomatic situation.