Canada and India are currently in a diplomatic dispute following Canada’s accusation that India may have been involved in assassinating a significant Sikh activist on Canadian soil. These allegations led to the removal of senior diplomats from both countries, causing relations to slip.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and Sikh leader, was killed in June, provoking outrage within the Sikh community in Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that “credible allegations” linking India to Nijjar’s assassination led to an investigation.
Canada discharged an Indian diplomat, identified as the head of the Indian intelligence agency in the country, while India retaliated by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat stationed in India.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, has vowed to resolve the matter and has raised the issue with US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
On the other hand, India accused Canadian diplomats of interfering in its internal affairs and participating in anti-India activities. The expulsion of the Canadian diplomat within five days emphasizes India’s growing concerns.
Two prominent Sikh community groups in Canada, the British Columbia Gurdwaras Council (BCGC) and Ontario Gurdwaras Committee (OGC), have urged the Canadian government to suspend all intelligence, investigative, and prosecutorial cooperation with India. These groups demand that Canada’s response reflects the gravity of India’s alleged involvement in Nijjar’s premeditated murder.
Canadian authorities haven’t made any arrest of anyone in connection with Nijjar’s murder. However, the police have identified three suspects and have appealed to the public for information.
Reports indicate an ongoing trade deal between the two nations has been halted due to the circumstances. The issue of activism within Canada’s Sikh diaspora has been a source of tension, and it appears to have influenced the relationship between the two countries.