Diplomatic Tensions Escalate: India and Canada Expel Diplomats Amidst Sikh Separatist Controversy
In a tit-for-tat exchange, India has asked a senior Canadian diplomat to leave the country within five days, further intensifying the diplomatic rift between the two nations. This decision follows Canada’s earlier expulsion of an Indian diplomat, a response to India’s alleged involvement in killing a Sikh separatist earlier this year.
The Indian foreign ministry, in a statement released on Tuesday, explained that New Delhi’s decision was motivated by its “growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities.” The situation marks a significant downturn in relations between Canada and India, leading to the derailment of trade talks and the cancellation of a planned trade mission to India.
What has exacerbated the situation are protests by pro-Sikh independence groups in Canada, which have deeply angered India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The diplomatic standoff reached its current level when Canada expelled an unnamed Indian diplomat, claiming India’s involvement in killing Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
Canadian High Commissioner to India, Cameron MacKay, was summoned by the Indian government, and a video captured his departure from the foreign ministry offices after a tense meeting. The Ministry of External Affairs statement read, “The High Commissioner of Canada to India was summoned today and informed about the decision of the Government of India to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India. The concerned diplomat has been asked to leave India within the next five days.”
India has vehemently rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of Indian government involvement in acts of violence in Canada as “absurd and motivated.” The Indian government emphasized its commitment to the rule of law and refuted the claims, labelling them baseless. India has also expressed concerns about Canada providing shelter to Khalistani terrorists and extremists who continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. These concerns have remained unaddressed by the Canadian government for some time.
In response to the diplomatic tensions, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly stated that an Indian diplomat had been expelled from Canada due to what Canada perceived as a breach of sovereignty. “We see this possible breach of sovereignty as completely unacceptable,” she said.
The recent developments highlight the deepening divide between India and Canada over the sensitive issue of Sikh separatism and underline the challenges both countries face in managing their diplomatic relations amid escalating tensions. As both nations grapple with these challenges, the future of their diplomatic ties remains uncertain.