Canada has expelled a top Indian intelligence official, accusing him of involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen of Indian-origin, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was an activist with the Sikh separatist movement Sikhs for Justice. In response to Canada’s actions, India then halted the issue of visas to Canadian citizens, and, as a reciprocal measure, expelled a senior diplomat from New Delhi.
These developments occurred just two weeks after the G20 summit in the Indian capital. Ottawa had claimed that it has credible evidence that agents of the Indian government were involved in the incident. Naturally, no one has provided any specific proof, nor are they likely to. Moreover, it was the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself who dropped the bombshell by officially blaming the Indian government for the Sikh’s murder and claiming that New Delhi had committed an “unacceptable violation” of Canadian sovereignty.
Here it is worth reminding readers that the “Sikhs for Justice” movement is demanding the secession of part of the territory of sovereign India, a fact that the Canadian government has ignored. What is more, the movement has official representations in Canada, the US, and the UK. Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly expressed concern over regular Sikh protests in Canada, sanctioned by Ottawa, in which participants have attacked Hindu places of worship and issued threats against Indian diplomats. All India’s objections went unheeded, including by the US, which could easily have asked Canada to rein in the zeal of those Sikh separatists who had obtained Canadian citizenship.
In order to better appreciate the scale of the situation, let us add that the Americans did intervene, but not on India’s behalf. Instead of taking India’s side and warning Trudeau about his conduct, US States Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly declared that the US expects India not just to help Canada, but to account for the activities of is intelligence services in full. And this is after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did the US a huge favor by postponing the SCO summit so that he could make a visit to the United States.
In fact, it should be pointed out that some commentators believe that the scandal was stirred up directly on Washington’s orders. In effect, New Delhi has again been put in its place and treated as a vassal state, and there is no question of any equal relationship with the Americans. Washington has once again shown that in all situations it will take the side of fellow Anglo-Saxons, completely disregarding the interests of New Delhi, its so-called strategic partner. For the US, India is no more than a tool to enable it to realize its geopolitical ambitions – containing China, pursuing its sanctions policies against Russia and Iran, and promoting American interests in the Asia-Pacific (as exemplified by the QUAD and I2U2 groupings) and so on. The regular visits by American diplomats to the Pakistani part of Kashmir, despite New Delhi’s open displeasure, are also indicative of the US attitude to India.
It can be assumed that the scandal involving the murder of a Sikh separatist, in which India has been accused with absolutely no evidence, will also play out to Washington’s benefit. After some time has elapsed, the White House will make a public show of having “persuaded Ottawa to forgive New Delhi,” thus putting India once more in its overlord’s debt.
Fernando Gaillardo, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.