Amidst escalating diplomatic tensions between India and Canada regarding Ottawa’s accusations on Hardeep Singh Nijjar killing case, a former Pentagon official has severely criticised Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making unfounded allegations against New Delhi.
Reacting to Canada’s accusations against India, former Pentagon official and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Rubin, stated that Canada lacks sufficient evidence to support its claims.
He suggested that Trudeau might have made hasty allegations without substantial proof and urged him to clarify why his government was providing shelter to a “terrorist with a criminal record.” Rubin went on to say that most probably Justin Trudeau won’t be there for long in premiership, and the US can get rebuild its relationship with Canada after he’s gone.
“Prime Minister Trudeau I think has made a huge mistake. He has made allegations in a manner which he hasn’t been able to back. Either he was shooting from the hip and he doesn’t have the evidence to support the accusations he made against the government. There is something there, in which case he needs to explain why this government was sheltering a terrorist,” the former Pentagon official said.
#WATCH | Washington, DC | On allegations by Canada, Michael Rubin, former Pentagon official and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute says, “… I suspect that the United States doesn’t want to be pinned in the corner to choose between 2 friends, but if we have to… pic.twitter.com/tlWr6C6p7e
— ANI (@ANI) September 23, 2023
“I suspect that the United States doesn’t want to be pinned in the corner to choose between two friends, but if we have to choose between two friends, increasingly we’re going to choose India on this matter simply because Nijjar was a terrorist and India is too important. Our relationship is too important. Justin Trudeau probably isn’t long for the Canadian premiership, and then we can get rebuild the relationship after he’s gone,” Michael Rubin said while speaking to news agency ANI.
The former Pentagon official emphasised that it’s unwise to sacrifice long-term relations with the world’s largest democracy for short-term political gains, suggesting that Trudeau’s actions were shortsighted and driven by political considerations.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Canadian Opposition, Pierre Poilievre, expressed concerns about an increase in hate crimes against Hindus in Canada. He highlighted recent incidents of hateful comments and emphasised that every Canadian should be able to live without fear and feel welcomed in their community.
“We need to have the evidence that drew that allowed the prime minister to come to the conclusions he made,” he said.
“I would have to have more evidence to make a judgment on that. I do find it interesting that he knew about vast foreign interference by Beijing for many years, at the same time as Beijing had kept two Canadian citizens hostage. And he said nothing. And he did nothing. Just very interesting that that was the approach he took in that case,” Poilievre added.
India-Canada relations strained
The relationship between India and Canada soured following Trudeau’s statement on Monday, in which he claimed to be actively pursuing credible allegations linking Indian government agents to Nijjar’s murder.
India, however, dismissed these accusations as baseless and driven by ulterior motives, asserting that they were an attempt to divert attention away from the issue of sheltering Khalistani terrorists and extremists in Canada.
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The explosive charges made by the Canadian Prime Minister against India ignited a bilateral dispute between the two nations, resulting in retaliatory actions such as the expulsion of diplomats. India has consistently maintained that Canada has not provided any specific information to substantiate its claims.
India has suspended visa services for Canadians while warning its citizens to “exercise extreme caution” when traveling to Canada due to “politically-condoned” hate crimes and violence.
India has also asked Canada to downsize its diplomatic presence in the country saying the size of Canadian diplomatic staff in India is larger than what New Delhi has in Canada and that there should be a parity in strength and rank equivalence in the mutual presence.
This latest diplomatic rift between India and Canada is unfolding against a backdrop of underlying tensions stemming from the growing activities of pro-Khalistan elements in Canada. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously expressed India’s concerns about this matter during a bilateral meeting with Trudeau, which took place earlier this month on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi.
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