Canada’s allegations prejudiced, primarily politically driven: MEA on diplomatic row

New Delhi, Sep 21 (UNI) India on Thursday said that Canada has become a safe haven for “terrorists, extremists, and organised crime” and dismissed as “politically driven” Ottawa’s allegations about Indian agents’ involvement in the murder of a Khalistani separatist.

In a weekly media briefing here, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said there was a “degree of prejudice” in Canada’s allegations. “They have made allegations and taken action on them. To us, it seems that these allegations by the government of Canada are primarily politically driven”.

The MEA statement came amid growing tensions between India and Canada after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday told parliament that his country’s security agencies have been actively pursuing “allegations” of a potential link between Indian government agents and the murder of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June.

While New Delhi outrightly rejected Trudeau’s allegation, calling it “absurd” and “motivated”, the relations between the two countries have worsened with Canada and India expelling a senior diplomat each.

India has also issued a travel advisory for Indian nationals, particularly students, in Canada and also those contemplating travel to the North American country, asking them to exercise utmost caution.

Bagchi confirmed that Canada hasn’t shared any specific information regarding the allegations. “From our side, very specific evidence of criminal activities based on Canadian soil has been shared with the Canadian authorities on a regular basis but has not been acted upon,” the MEA spokesperson said.

The allegations were raised by Trudeau with PM Modi when the Canadian PM was in India to attend the G20 summit. PM Modi rejected the allegations, the MEA reiterated.

The MEA Spokesperson said, “Safe haven is being provided in Canada, we want the Canadian govt to not do so and take action against those who have terrorism charges or send them here to face justice”.

He said India’s repeated requests over the years for the extradition of terrorists have not elicited any “helpful” response from Canadian authorities.

“We’ve sought either extradition requests or assistance related to that, at least more than 20-25 individuals we’ve requested over the years but the response has not been helpful at all” he added.

Replying to a question as to whether Ottawa’s allegations could hurt India’s reputation, Bagchi said: “It is Canada that needs to look into its growing reputation of being a safe haven for terrorists, extremists, and organised crime.”

On increasing security at the Indian High Commission and Consulates in Canada, Bagchi said “We have always believed that it is the host government’s responsibility to provide security. In some places, we have our own security posture also. But, I don’t want to discuss security measures in public. That’s not an appropriate situation.”

Over the issue of the visa, Bagchi said “All categories of visas are suspended. The issue is not about travel to India but the issue is incitement of violence and inaction by the Canadian government…adding Those who have valid visas and OCI cards can travel freely”.

Leave a Reply