Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the ongoing protests by Indian farmers were “uncalled for, disconnected with ground realities and served merely to fan the flames”, said an open letter by Indian Ambassadors Group on vote bank politics in Canada.
The letter signed by IFS officers including Vishnu Prakash, the former High Commissioner to Canada, said: “Interacting primarily with the Sikh community last week, on the pious birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Prime Minister Trudeau gratuitously waded into ongoing protests by Indian farmers, saying that the ‘situation is concerning, and we’re all very worried about family and friends’. His comments were uncalled for, disconnected with ground realities and served merely to fan the flames”.
The letter said the irony is that Canada is one of the most strident critics of India’s minimum support price (MSP) at the World Trade Organization (WHO), yet actuated by questionable motives suddenly opted to express concern and support for the farmers.
“That the Indian dovernment has, in good faith, been holding talks at Ministerial level with the representatives of agitating farmers, was conveniently ignored by Ottawa.
The Canadian government, also chose to forget how earlier this year, notwithstanding treaty obligations, they had dismissed the rights of the hereditary chiefs of the First Nations over their traditional lands. Their peaceful protests against natural-gas pipelines passing through their territory were forcefully quashed”, the letter said.
As per a leading national daily, “Canada has not figured out what the ‘duty to consult’ Indigenous people on decisions that affect their rights really means”.
“Back home, encouraged by the Canadian support, the protesters have hardened their stance, adopting an all or nothing approach. Such blatant interference in India’s internal affairs to appease a section of the Liberal party’s voter base is completely unacceptable and cannot but cast a long shadow on bilateral relations. Such behaviour, against well-established diplomatic norms, is also bound to hurt Canada’s own standing in the world.
“It further carries the risk of other nations repaying Canada in the same token. India wishes to have the best of ties with Canada. However, no relationship can be one sided. Nor can any country especially India ignore actions which are prejudicial to her national interests and territorial integrity. The choice and decision rests with the people of Canada,” the strongly worded letter said.
It added that bilateral political equations develop stress, due to the propensity of certain Canadian political parties and leaders to engage in vote bank politics.
It is well known that the separatist and violent Khalistani elements carry out anti India activities, from the safety of the Canadian soil. They are also radicalising the Canadian youth with far reaching consequences, which is being ignored at the altar of short-term political expediency.
Khalistani elements in Canada control a number of prominent gurdwaras which gives them access to substantial funds, some of which are allegedly diverted to the electoral campaign of political parties especially the Liberals.
They regularly hold demonstrations, rallies and other events where anti-India slogans are raised and terrorists eulogised.
Few Canadian politicians have qualms about attending such events which provides the oxygen of publicity to the separatists.
Cooperation and coordination between the Khalistanis and Pakistani diplomatic posts has also been taking place behind the scenes.
Pakistani ‘diplomats’ conspicuously participate in such pro-Khalistani events, while Canadian authorities turn a Nelson’s eye.
There were numerous references to radical Khalistanis and Sikh extremism in the “2018 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada”. However allegedly bowing to their pressure and threats, in an unprecedented development, all references to them were deleted from the report, the letter said.
“This editorial jugglery may be good enough for domestic purposes, but the fact remains that neither Canada nor any other state can condone fundamentalism, violent extremism or terrorism, under international law,” it added.
The other signatories include Ajay Swarup, Amarendra Khatua, Anil K. Trigunayat, Ashok Sajjanhar, Bhaswati Mukherjee, G.S. Iyer, J.S. Sapra, Laxmi Puri, Mohan Kumar, O.P. Gupta, Prabhu Dayal, R.C. Arora, R. Dayakara, Satish Chand Mehta, S.K. Mathur, Shyamla B. Cowshik, Suresh Kumar Goel, Veena Sikhri, Vidya Sagar Verma, Virender Gupta and Yogesh Gupta.