VANCOUVER, CANADA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to address concerns of foreign interference including those related to India during the G20 summit. However, it’s uncertain how Prime Minister Narendra Modi will respond.
The Canadian government has publicly accused the Indian govt of “foreign interference” in the Canadian affairs, based on intelligence provided by the Canadian intelligence that the Indian state is involved in interference in Canada where nearly a million Sikhs reside and a large number of them are considered pro-Khalistan and anti-Hindutva.
This visit comes in the wake of a petition from the Canadian Sikh community, urging a comprehensive investigation into the recent assassination of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and Khalistan Referendum’s Canadian chapter leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar and the potential involvement of Indian foreign elements.
Trudeau’s arrival in New Delhi coincides with the G20 summit, where climate issues, security, gender equality, and the Russian invasion in Ukraine are prominent topics.
Trudeau, whose government has now approved a public inquiry into allegations of foreign interference, is also concerned about this issue. In Singapore, he mentioned that his schedule was being finalized, and a meeting with Modi in India had not been confirmed.
Trudeau, whose Liberal government recently launched a public inquiry into foreign interference allegations, also stressed the importance of scrutinizing countries beyond just China.
He stated: “We must remain committed to protecting Canadians from any and all forms of interference.”
The inquiry aims to address foreign interference, with a focus on countries like China and Russia. Trudeau emphasized that this commission will investigate wherever the evidence leads, acknowledging that other nations also engage in interference.
India has previously claimed that elements within Canada were involved in meddling in India’s internal matters, particularly concerning the Khalistani separatist movement, which seeks independence for a portion of Punjab.
Indian High Commissioner in Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma expects Trudeau and Modi to meet but is uncertain about the meeting’s format.
India holds a prominent position in Canada’s efforts to diversify from its primary trading partner, the United States, in the Indo-Pacific region. Nevertheless, it has been identified as a significant source of foreign interference in Canada, as noted by Trudeau’s national security adviser, Jody Thomas.
Trudeau’s current visit to India marks his first since a controversial 2018 trip. While some tensions arose during that visit, former high commissioner Patel highlights shared priorities between India and Canada at the G20.
The Surrey Sikh community, represented by MP Sukh Dhaliw, has submitted a petition to Parliament, calling on the Canadian government to probe India’s involvement in Nijjar’s assassination.
Sikh for Justice (SFJ’s) claim regarding India’s involvement in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, President of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Surrey and Chief Campaigner of the Canadian Chapter of Khalistan Referendum, led the Trudeau government to acknowledge and launch an inquiry into India’s interference in Canada.
The petition has gained the necessary backing and signatures for it to be addressed and deliberated upon in the upcoming Parliament session in Ottawa later this month.
The petition highlights the tragic incident on June 18, 2023, when Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a respected member of the Canadian Sikh community, was fatally shot outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, BC. Nijjar was known for his peaceful and dedicated service as President of the gurdwara and Chief Coordinator of the Canadian Chapter of the Global Khalistan Referendum, with no involvement in criminal activities.
Canadian Sikh community members in British Columbia call on the Government of Canada to investigate Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder and uncover its motives and perpetrators. This tragic event has raised serious concerns and comes amid reports of foreign interference, including allegations related to India.