“Space Given To Separatists, Terrorists Core Issue With Canada”: India

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'Space Given To Separatists, Terrorists Core Issue With Canada': India

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India’s position has been consistent.

New Delhi:

India once again asserted on Thursday that its “core issue” with Canada remains that of the space given to separatists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country.

The comments by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said India’s ties with Canada may have undergone “a tonal shift” following the indictment of an Indian national in the US for plotting an assassination attempt on a Sikh separatist.

“Our position has been consistent. We have highlighted how we see the problem and frankly, the core issue remains the space that is given to extremists, terrorists and anti-India elements in that country,” Mr Bagchi said.

He, however, chose not to make a direct comment on Mr Trudeau’s remarks.

“I would not like to say whether they have noted a shift or not. Certainly, our positions have remained consistent and we would hope that they would take action on such extremist elements that are misusing freedom of speech and expression from their country,” Bagchi said.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Mr Trudeau’s allegation in September of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia on June 18.India designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

New Delhi rejected Mr Trudeau’s charges as “absurd”.

“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they cannot bluster their way through this and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” Mr Trudeau said.

He said the US indictment appears to have convinced the Indian government to adopt a more sober tone. “There is an understanding that maybe, maybe just churning out attacks against Canada is not going to make this problem go away. We do not want to be in a situation of having a fight with India right now over this,” Mr Trudeau said.

“We want to be working on that trade deal. We want to be advancing the Indo-Pacific strategy. But it is foundational for Canada to stand up for people’s rights, for people’s safety and for the rule of law. And that is what we are going to do,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Last month, US federal prosecutors charged Indian national Nikhil Gupta with working with an Indian government employee in an alleged foiled plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Sikh extremist, on American soil.

Pannun, wanted in India on terror charges, holds dual citizenship of the United States and Canada.

On December 7, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in Parliament that India has instituted an inquiry committee to look into the inputs received from the US in the case as the matter has a bearing on national security.

At the same time, he said there will be “no equitable treatment” to Canada’s allegations as no specific evidence or inputs were provided to India by Ottawa.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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