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India-Canada Diplomacy: Bridging Gaps for Cooperation.



  Sep 27, 2023

The Need for Quiet Diplomacy to Clear the Air



Overview

India and Canada have long held differing views on bilateral matters, with a lack of constructive engagement hindering meaningful diplomacy.
Issues like Canada's stance on Khalistan and misunderstandings related to governance and laws have been contentious.
The Nijjar case has brought these frictions to the forefront, requiring a nuanced approach to mend fences.

Historical Context: Khalistan Issue

Indian frustrations with Canada concerning the Khalistan issue go back over four decades.
Canada's perceived leniency towards Khalistani supporters, who have been accused of violence and terrorism, has irked India.
Canada, on the other hand, cites its own legal framework as a limiting factor in taking stringent actions.

The Legal Dilemma

Canada insists that it upholds the rule of law but seems hesitant to trust the Indian judicial system, thereby not extraditing accused individuals back to India.`
India argues that if a country’s laws do not deter divisive activities, then new laws should be enacted.

Perception Gaps

Many Indians view Canada's approach as prejudiced or even racist, pointing to the differing treatment of Indian visa applicants compared to applicants from other countries.
The lack of mutual trust has contributed to the difficulty in achieving constructive engagement.

Solutions: The Path Forward

Open Dialogue: Both countries need to engage in quiet diplomacy to discuss their legal frameworks and the entire range of bilateral issues.
 
Constructive Engagement: This principle, emphasized by Canada, should be a two-way street, where India's concerns are also seriously addressed.
 
Legal Review: Both countries should review existing laws that act as hindrances to justice, especially in cases like terrorism, which are of mutual concern.
 
Transparency and Evidence-Sharing: For cases like the Nijjar issue, sharing credible evidence is essential for judicial scrutiny.
 
Measured Language: Careful choice of words by leaders can contribute to a less reactive and more constructive diplomatic relationship.
 
Quiet and mature diplomacy, shorn of public recriminations, can serve as a powerful tool to resolve these longstanding issues and clear the air between India and Canada.


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