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India-Canada Relations: Allegations & Implications.



  Sep 25, 2023

India-Canada Relations Dive



The deterioration in relations between India and Canada has multiple layers that require unpacking for a comprehensive understanding:

Allegations Against India:
 
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced that he believes agents of the Indian government were involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, labeled a terrorist by India.
The allegation came after Trudeau's visit to India and is deemed significant, yet controversial, because the investigation is still ongoing.


India's Accusations:
India counter-accuses Canada of providing safe havens to pro-Khalistan extremists, exacerbating domestic conflicts within India. Indian authorities deny any involvement in the Nijjar killing and have called the allegations "absurd."


International Response:
Countries in the "Five Eyes" alliance (U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand) have expressed concern but have not backed Canada’s claims outright.
The subdued response indicates a hesitation to strain relations with India, especially given their strategic partnerships.


Visa Services:
India suspended visa services across Canada, a move affecting hundreds of thousands of people, citing security concerns. This is more than a tit-for-tat response; it has tangible implications for student, tourist, and business visas.


Free Trade Agreement:
Ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations have been put on pause, affecting economic relations. Both countries had shown interests in an FTA, but the current tensions make progress uncertain.


Root Causes:
The root tension between the countries lies in their differing perspectives on the Khalistan issue. While India sees Canada as a safe haven for anti-India extremists, Canada views its diaspora as refugees from human rights abuses by Indian security forces.


Future Implications:
If the visa suspension continues, it could impact a significant number of people in both countries. Moreover, if Canada’s allegations are proven, it might trigger international condemnation against India, affecting its global standing.
 
In summary, the crisis is not merely bilateral but has far-reaching implications, affecting international alliances, diaspora communities, and economic partnerships.
Both nations are at a critical juncture, and the decisions made in the coming weeks could have long-term repercussions.


Five Eyes Alliance:
 
The Five Eyes Alliance comprising the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is an intelligence sharing coalition.
In this case, the group has expressed "concern" but not outright support for Canada's claims.
The hesitant response is in stark contrast to actions taken in similar situations, like the Skripal case in the U.K. (In the Skripal case, the U.K. accused Russia of poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, leading to swift international sanctions against Russia️).
The mild stance hints at the alliance's caution in not wanting to disrupt strategic relations with India.


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