Diplomats With India “In Private”: Canada Minister Amid Face-Off

Melanie Joly, the foreign minister of Canada, stated that Ottawa favors leaving a “strong diplomatic footprint” in India.

Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, has stated that Ottawa is not aiming to “escalate” the conflict with India. His administration has stated that “private” discussions are being held in order to keep a “strong diplomatic footprint” in India.

  • Trudeau, who sparked the diplomatic face-off by alleging the Indian government’s role in the killing of a Khalistani terrorist, was speaking to the media after the Financial Times reported that India wants 41 out of the 62 Canadian diplomats out of the country. 
  • The report was not confirmed by the Canadian prime minister. When asked if Canada will ask India to recall its diplomats, he reportedly responded, “We’re not looking to escalate, as I’ve said, we’re going to be doing the work that matters in continuing to have constructive relations with India through this extremely difficult time.”
  • Speaking on the same issue, Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly said Ottawa believes in having a “strong diplomatic footprint” in India. “We are in contact with the government of India. We take Canadian diplomats’ safety very seriously, and we will continue to engage privately because we think that diplomatic conversations are best when they remain private,” she was quoted as saying by Global News. 
  • In moments of tensions – because indeed there are tensions between both our governments more than ever – it’s important that diplomats be on the ground, and that’s why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India,” she added. 
  • The Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in British Columbia in June by masked assailants. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act listed the 45-year-old as a terrorist.
  • Earlier this month, Trudeau accused India of being involved in the murder of Nijjar. He continued, “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” “Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” he said.
  • This sparked a diplomatic crisis. The claims were branded as “absurd” and “motivated” by India. Senior diplomats were then dismissed from both sides and travel warnings were issued as a result. The Indian government had previously called for “parity” in the number and rank of diplomats sent by each nation, though it has not yet replied to the Financial Times report asking Canadian officials to leave.
  • Shortly after his visit to New Delhi for the G20 conference, Trudeau launched his major criticism of India. Throughout the summit, India sent a clear message, expressing “strong concerns about the continuing anti-Indian activities of extremist elements in Canada.” On the eve of the conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi voiced his worries. Trudeau responded by stating that his nation “will always defend freedom of expression”. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the actions of a select few do not speak for Canada, he added.
  • The US has insisted that further investigation is necessary on the Canadian government’s allegations. According to John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, the issue was discussed during the meeting between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan last week. We’ll undoubtedly leave discussion of their bilateral relationship to those two nations.
  • We’ve been clear: These claims need to be thoroughly probed because they are serious. Of course, as we’ve said before, we urge India to actively take part in the investigation. The Washington Post reported that Canadian officials had attempted to get friends, particularly the US, to publicly denounce the killing of Nijjar before the G20 summit but had encountered resistance.

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