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India-Canada diplomatic tensions: A closer look

Annisa Essack |
22 September 2023 | 12:00 CAT
2 min read

Photo Credit: The Indian Express

As diplomatic tensions between India and Canada escalate over allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil, the international community is closely watching this developing situation. Sanjay Kapoor, the editor of Hardnews Magazine in India, shared his insights during a radio interview to better understand how this story unfolds in India.

 The latest development in this diplomatic spat is the suspension of visa issuance to citizens of each other’s countries. Canadian citizens cannot obtain visas to travel to India, and vice versa. The potential ramifications of this decision are still unclear, raising questions about how it will impact both Indian and Canadian citizens.

The root of this issue lies in allegations made by the Canadian government, which claims that Indian agencies were responsible for killing a Sikh leader on Canadian soil. Sanjay Kapoor explained that these allegations have been reported extensively in the Indian media, but the coverage tends to take a nationalist perspective, emphasising defending India’s reputation.

The Indian government, while not backing down, has expressed a willingness to participate in an inquiry if concrete evidence is provided. However, the situation has escalated beyond what Indian officials initially anticipated. Prime Minister Trudeau’s public allegations in the Canadian Parliament caught Indian officials off guard, and sharing a so-called transcript of technical surveillance data has added to the tension.

While the Sikh separatist movement is mainly non-existent in India, it has gained traction among the Sikh diaspora, particularly in Canada. The movement outside India gained momentum in the 1980s following violence and conflict in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. However, within India, Sikhs have held prominent positions in politics, the military, and other sectors, and there is no significant grievance or separatist sentiment.

Sanjay Kapoor also noted the influence of the Sikh diaspora in Canada, with Sikh Canadians holding positions of political influence. The presence of leaders like Jagmeet Singh in the New Democratic Party, which supports the ruling Liberal Party headed by Justin Trudeau, adds a layer of complexity to the situation. Canada’s stance is that Sikh Canadians have the right to protest, and cannot be prevented.

In summary, the India-Canada diplomatic tensions stem from allegations that require further investigation. The situation is fluid and evolving, with both countries taking measures that may impact their citizens and diplomatic relations. The influence of the Sikh diaspora in Canada adds complexity to the issue, and the resolution remains uncertain.

Listen to the Sabahul Muslim interview with Sanjay Kapoor and Sulaimaan Ravat here.



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