- India and Canada are dealing with an unprecedented diplomatic crisis, which can have political as well as geopolitical consequences.
Story so far:-
- The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have accused India of involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Najjar, who is a Khalistani separatist as per India.
- India have rejected the allegations and in return accused Canada for sheltering Khalistani separatist.
- Canada expelled Indian diplomat posted in Ottawa. Then, India issued a travel advisory for Indian nationals travelling to Canada.
- Later, India suspended visa service in Canada as well as E-visa services.
- Although nothing has been proven yet, but if Canada can provide compelling evidence, then it could potentially damage India's post-G20 reputation as a strong voice for democracy and a global consensus builder.
- India has called Canada as "Safe haven" for "terrorists, extremists and organized crime".
The Khalistan Movement:-
- The Khalistan Movement is a fight for a separate, sovereign Sikh State in Present day Punjab (both India and Pakistan).
- The call for a separate Sikh state began during the 1930s, when British rule in India was nearing its end.
- The demand reappeared several times, mostly during the insurgency in 1970s and 1980s.
- During the Operation Blue Star (1984), the movement gained momentum, especially in Sikh diaspora in countries like Canada, the UK and Australia.
Anti-India Movement in Canada:-
- Canada is becoming an international hub of Anti-India Movement, as many such anti-India activities took place recently.
- Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a pro-Khalistan organization, conducted a so-called "referendum" on Khalistan in Brampton which was nudged by Pakistani intelligence agencies. It has been a major irritant in recent years for India.
- In 2002, the Toronto-based Punjabi-language weekly Sanjh Savera greeted Indira Gandhi's death anniversary with a cover illustration celebrating her murder.
- Jagmeet 'Jimmy' Dhaliwal, whose New Democratic Party supports Trudeau's minority government in Parliament, is viewed with suspicion by the Indian establishments for its pro-Khalistan sympathies.
- Both countries have a history of bilateral relations, underpinned by shared values of democracy, pluralism and people-to-people ties.
- India had established diplomatic relationship with Canada in 1947, which was elevated as strategic partnership in 2015.
- Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) was signed in 2010 and a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation was formed.
- The bilateral trade between India and Canada stands at over USD 8.16 billion in FY 2022-23, along with this, the countries are negotiating for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
- There is a large India diaspora living in Canada, with an impactful contribution in various sectors, political representation and cultural exchanges.
- In 2021, about 80,000 Canadian tourists visited India, making them the fourth largest group.
- In the field of Science and Technology, Indo-Canadian Science and Technology cooperation has been primarily focused on promoting Industrial R&D which has potential for application through the development of new IP, Processes, prototypes and products.
Implications of such Disturbances:-
- The two countries, India and Canada, are members of important international organizations. If they are unable to cooperate with each other, it will be difficult for the organizations to function properly.
- India-Canada cooperation is essential for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific cooperation.
- The worsening of relations could lead to reduction in trade and investment between the two countries as both stand as an important economic partner for each other.
- In geopolitics, their non-cooperation could bring difficulty in building consensus over important global issues.
Source - Indian Express