India denies any role in Nijjar’s killing in Canada
On Tuesday, India denied the Canadian claim that the Indian government was complicit in the murder of a major Khalistani separatist leader “on Canadian soil”.
What is the historical background behind the Khalistani separatist movement?
- The Khalistan issue is a Sikh separatist movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the Punjab region called Khalistan.
- Its roots can be seen in India’s independence and subsequent Partition, which resulted in communal violence and the relocation of millions of people, including Sikhs.
- The Punjabi Suba Movement and the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which requested greater autonomy for Punjab, fueled the movement.
- Under the leadership of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who took up residence in the Golden Temple and founded the Dharam Yudh Morcha, the movement grew violent in the 1980s.
- In 1984, the Indian government began “Operation Blue Star” to clear out terrorists from the Golden Temple and bring Bhindranwale to justice. The raid caused significant damage to the Golden Temple and resulted in the deaths of several terrorists and bystanders.
- Following Operation Blue Star, there was communal violence and a long-running insurgency in Punjab that lasted until 1995.
- The movement failed to achieve its goal for a variety of reasons, including harsh police crackdowns, factional infighting, and Sikh disillusionment.
- Today, the movement is fuelled by vote bank politics, socioeconomic issues including unemployment and drug misuse in Punjab, and non-state actors’ backing.
- The movement continues to elicit sympathy and support from segments of the Sikh people, particularly the Sikh diaspora.
What are the recent events that triggered a reaction in the Indo-Candian relation?
- The leader of the Khalistan Tiger Force, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Surrey, Canada, in June.
- Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, claimed that the Indian government was responsible for the murder since it was an “unacceptable violation.”
- India rejected these allegations, stating that they were unsubstantiated and aimed at diverting attention from the activities of Khalistani operatives in Canada. India expressed concerns about the use of Canadian soil by “anti-India elements” and called for effective legal action against them.
How is the incident going to impact the relations between India and Canada?
- Strained Diplomatic Ties: Relations between the two countries may become strained as a result of the expulsion of diplomats and the exchange of public accusations. As a result of these deeds and accusations, trust and goodwill could be lost.
- Trade and Economic Relations: There may be a negative impact on bilateral trade and economic relations. India and Canada both have commercial interests in one another’s markets, and a worsening in diplomatic ties could limit chances for trade and investment.
- People-to-People Relations: Tourism, as well as cultural and educational interactions, may be harmed. If the diplomatic issue worsens, cross-cultural exchanges, such as student exchanges and tourism, could deteriorate.
- Multilateral Cooperation: Canada and India frequently work together to address a range of global concerns, such as global governance, peacekeeping, and climate change. Their ability to effectively collaborate on major global concerns may be hampered by the disagreement.
- Diaspora Relations: There are sizable diaspora populations from each other’s nations in both India and Canada. The conflict might affect these communities, possibly causing conflict or discord within them.
- Long-Term Relations: It’s crucial to remember that India and Canada have experienced diplomatic ups and downs in the past, even though this debate may cause short-term tensions. Once the initial tensions have subsided, they might be able to find ways to mend their relationship and work together on shared interests in the future.
- Resolution and Mediation: To resolve this conflict, diplomatic efforts, talks, or even third-party mediation may be necessary. Both nations might try to reduce tensions through diplomatic channels and communication.
What is the way forward from this situation?
- Diplomatic Channels: Both India and Canada should keep pursuing the dispute through the diplomatic system. High-level discussions between government representatives, such as foreign ministers or heads of state, can help identify areas of agreement and resolve disagreements.
- Conflict Resolution: Try to settle the conflict amicably through talks and negotiations. Encourage both parties to exchange information and proof of the claims made so that the situation can be evaluated honestly and based on the available facts.
- Evidence and Investigations: If claims are made, both parties should be prepared to offer supporting information and work together to assist with any inquiries into the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Building confidence can be aided through transparency in the inquiry process.
- Conflict Resolutions: Resolve the underlying issues generating the conflict by employing diplomatic channels, such as bilateral talks or, if necessary, third-party mediation. Address any thorny issues, including those involving Khalistani agents.
- Diaspora Engagement: Actively interact with the Canadian and Indian diaspora populations. Recognize their contributions and, when necessary, include them in discussions about the dispute.