Canada hopes India finds ‘scapegoat’ in Nijjar case

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Fadden asserted that Canada will urgently need better ties with India for the bigger strategic cause in the Indo-Pacific for which “New Delhi is the most important ally”.

Justine Trudeau Narendra Modi

Justine Trudeau Narendra Modi

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 15: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has claimed vindication for his levelling allegations against India for the alleged murder of Harjeet Singh Nijjar. While Trudeau has sought to suggest that his allegations against India were to address the Sikh community in Canada who were growing concerned, the security experts in Canada are hoping that India will find a scapegoat in the probe and help bring bilateral ties to normalcy.

The Canadian security experts are also stressing that the US formally registering a case of a murder plot of the Sikh activist Gurpawant Singh Pannun and India launching a probe into the allegation have opened scope for normalizing bilateral ties between New Delhi and Ottawa. Two former national security advisors of Canada have stated that Canada needs India desperately for Indo-Pacific strategic push against China. They have argued that India would find a “rogue element within the intelligence establishment and pass the buck” to buy peace with the US and Canada.

Former national security advisor of Canada Richard Fadden told the Canadian state television CTV that “India needs to know that it can not do such things with allies, and the ongoing probe will help bring the value-based relations on track”. Fadden also stated that India “will realise that such acts cannot be carried on the soils of allies”.

Vincent Rigby, another former national security advisor of Canada, also echoed the views of Faddan. But Rigby noted the changing profile of India on the world stage while underlining that New Delhi had not been taking Ottawa seriously. Rigby said: “India likes to be quoted now on the world stage. We are not great power and we are treated differently. But now there will be exchange of information out of the ongoing probe between India, the US, and Canada.”

Fadden told the television channel that “India in due course will find out a scapegoat and the case will rest there”. On a specific question of the anchor if the probe will go up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and link him to the plot to the killing of Nijjar, Fadden said: “Such things have been going around in the world for more than decades, and heads of the states nowhere have been implicated.”

On the other hand, there appears admission on the parts of the Canadian commentators to empathise with the Indian concerns of the separatists on the Canadian soil. Canadian political commentator Tom Mulcair told the television channel that the Nijjar case has brought an urgency in Canada to understand the diaspora politics while there is an admission in the government to address the concerns raised by India. It may be noted that India had officially accused Canada of sheltering extremists and terrorists. Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar had told his American hosts that Canada had not been cooperating on concerns raised by India for a long time. It may also be recalled that an Interpol notice against Nijjar was issued in 2016 while there was a reward on his head for his alleged involvement in a bomb blast case in Punjab.

Former chief minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh has also stated that he had told Trudeau in 2016 that he was doing dangerous politics by appeasing to the Sikh separatists in Canada. Fadden told the television channel that “the diaspora politics is now at the focus and the exchange between India and Canada now will help better understanding of the concerns raised by New Delhi”. Fadden asserted that Canada will urgently need better ties with India for the bigger strategic cause in the Indo-Pacific for which “New Delhi is the most important ally”.

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