Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked tough in his meeting with Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday, telling him in clear terms that continuing anti-India activities in Canada are an issue of “strong concern”.
This came after India virtually gave a cold shoulder to Trudeau during the G20 Summit, following repeated provocative incidents in Canada by Khalistani elements, while Canada continued to maintain that it would protect the right of “peaceful protests” in its country by the Indian diaspora.
Trudeau only got a pull-aside meet with PM Modi, while many of the other countries had detailed bilateral meetings.
The Canadian PM later upped the ante saying he raised the issue of “interference of India in Canada’s affairs” with PM Modi during their pull-aside meet.
SHOULD BE A CONCERN FOR CANADA AS WELL: INDIA’S STATEMENT
The Indian statement said Modi conveyed India’s strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada. “They are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises, and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship,” India’s statement said.
It added that the nexus of such forces with organised crime, drug syndicates and human trafficking “should be a concern for Canada as well” and both the countries must cooperate in dealing with such threats.
Met PM @JustinTrudeau on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. We discussed the full range of India-Canada ties across different sectors. pic.twitter.com/iP9fsILWac— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 10, 2023
ACTIONS OF A FEW DO NOT REPRESENT THE COMMUNITY: TRUDEAU’S STATEMENT
However, this does not seem to have made Trudeau see sense as he later told the international media that he had discussed the ‘rule of law’ with Modi on the issue of Khalistani protests and also the issue of “interference of India in Canada’s affairs". Trudeau confirmed that both the issues came up.
“Canada will always defend freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful protests. That is extremely important. We are always there to prevent violence and push back hatred. Actions of a few do not represent the entire community to Canada,” the Canada PM said.
What would further anger India was Trudeau’s statement to the media that he also raised the issue of India’s interference in Canadian affairs as pointed out by intelligence agencies of Canada. “We did talk about foreign interference. Diaspora Canadians make up a huge proportion of our country and they should be able to express themselves and make their choices without interference from any of the foreign countries,” Trudeau said. These claims of Canada are in reference to the killing of certain Khalistani elements in Canada which are being linked to India.
FALSE, MOTIVATED CLAIMS: INDIAN GOVT SOURCES
Indian government sources described these claims of Canada as “false” and “motivated” and said Canada should instead work on stopping “anti-India” activities from its soil.
PM Modi posted no ‘welcome note’ on X for Trudeau and the latter also skipped one of the multi-lateral events. Trudeau was also missing from the stage during some key announcements during the G20 summit in Delhi.