In another attack on Canada, which was dubbed a safe haven for terrorists by the Centre last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the country harbours extremist elements and that India has conveyed its concerns in this regard to the United States.
The comments come amid the simmering row between India and Canada, which was sparked when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had claimed last week that “Indian government agents” were involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.
The minister made the comments in response to a question during a discussion at a think tank, Hudson Institute, in Washington, DC, on Friday.
“The Canadian Prime Minister made some allegations, initially privately and then publicly, and our response to him, both in private and public, was that what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy. And that if he or his government had anything relevant and specific that they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. That’s where that conversation is at this point of time,” he said.
Ramping up his attack on the Canadian government, the minister said, “Then it became dormant but, in the last few years, it has come back into play because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremists, people who openly advocate violence. And they have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”
“For Americans, perhaps, Canada looks very different but it depends where the shoe pinches. For us it has certainly been a country where organised crime from India mixed with trafficking in people, mixed with secessionism, violence, terrorism – it’s a very toxic combination of issues and people who have found operating space there. So, a lot of our tensions with Canada, which well preceded what Mr Trudeau said, actually come out of that,” he added.
Jaishankar said the situation today is that Indian diplomats are unsafe going to the embassy and consulates in Canada and that they are publicly intimidated, which compelled India to suspend visa services in the country.
The minister confirmed that he had spoken about these issues with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Pressed for details of the meetings, Jaishankar said, “Let’s put it this way, they, obviously shared US views and assessments on this whole situation and I explained to them, at some length, the concerns which I had. Hopefully, we both came out of those meetings better informed.”
With inputs from NDTV