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Vote bank politics stopping Canada to act against Khalistanis: EAM S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

Calling out Canada for its muted response to blooming Khalistani activities on its soil, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has accused the Canadian government led by Justin Trudeau of engaging in vote-bank politics. Warning of an action Jaishankar said that if there are activities in Canada that impinge Indian national security and integrity then it will have to ‘respond’.

“How Canada has dealt with the Khalistani issue has long been a concern for us. Quite frankly they seem to be driven by vote-bank politics. The Canadian government’s responses to the growing threat have been constrained by what they regard as vote-bank compulsions”, said EAM Jaishankar.

Canadian government’s inaction on issue risking its ties with India has raised many eyebrows but his government’s dependence on Khalistani sympathiser Jagmeet Singh justify Jaishankar’s claims. The Trudeau government is a minority government being run in support of Singh’s New Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP has 24 seats in parliament, whose support is critical for the survival of the Trudeau government. The Canadian Prime Minister therefore cannot afford to antagonise Singh, because of the extraordinary leverage his NDP enjoys with the Liberals.

After the 2019 elections, Singh and Trudeau signed a popularly known confidence-and-supply agreement effective till 2025. Singh’s support to Trudeau during opposition’s attacks on China’s suspected interference in Canada’s elections strengthened the pact. Singh had aggressively opposed the crackdown operation against Khalistanis in Punjab, and ever since Khalistani supporters have openly been indulging in anti-India activities and protests in Canada since last few months.

Following the crackdown on Khalistani separatist Amritpal Singh in Punjab these activities saw massive increase. In addition to vandalisation of Indian diplomatic buildings and temples, Khalistanis got an important event, to be attended by an Indian envoy, cancelled in March. They went ahead with violent protests and even assaulted an Indian-origin journalist. With no visible crackdown in matter the EAM had sought an explanation on how such elements were allowed, in the presence of police, to breach the security of its diplomatic mission and consulates. Things went downhill on Blue Star anniversary when the Khalistanis took out a parade with a float celebrating assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi. The parade further stressed Indo-Canadian ties and Jaishankar has cleared that Canada’s indulgence of such activities would not be good for bilateral relationships. “I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence. It is not good for relationships and not good for Canada,” he added.