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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Conflict between India and Canada

Relations between India and Canada have drastically deteriorated over the past few days
Canada National flag from Unsplash

Relations between India and Canada have drastically deteriorated over the past few days. It all started when Indo-Candian activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was assassinated in June. Nijjar had been living in Canada since 2007 and was one of the most active voices in the Khalistan movement. The Khalistan movement is a separatist movement advocating for the creation of a Sikh state in the Punjab region in India. India had accused Nijjar of being a leader in the militant KTF (Khalistan Tiger Force), which India has deemed a terrorist organization. On June 18th, 2023, Nijjar was shot to death in the parking lot of his gurudwara by masked gunmen. Canadian authorities, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, are still investigating the murder. 


But the cause of this diplomatic rift between India and Canada is the fact that on September 18th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an address to the Canadian Parliament, accused the Indian government of having ordered Nijjar’s assassination and said that Canadian intelligence has “credible links” that India was involved. Trudeau told Parliament that “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” No evidence has been provided yet to the public but the fallout has been immense.


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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has responded by calling the accusations “absurd” and accusing Canada of harboring anti-Indian extremists. Both countries have now expelled diplomats and India has put a hold on Canadians applying for visas to India. India is now promising to bar all Khalistan sympathizers overseas from entering India by way of canceling their citizenship. 


Canadian Sikhs, who make up a sizable minority within Canada, have also been affected. Sikh MP Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s centre-left New Democratic Party, has expressed concerns over the safety of Sikhs within the nation. The accusations have furthered a divide in the Indian diaspora in Canada between Sikhs and supporters of Modi and his Hindu nationalist political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. The United States has also expressed concerns over the assassination and the fallout. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told Reuters that the US would be in touch with both nations. The FBI also warned Sikh American activists they are at risk of assassination now as the fallout continues.


India National flag from Unsplash

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