HTLS 2023: Jaishankar says there’s room for diplomacy to address India-Canada row
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s statement came months after India-Canada ties strained following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations over the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader.
Speaking at the TIN Leadership Summit 2023 on Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said there’s still room for diplomacy to deal with the diplomatic row between India and Canada.
Jaishankar said, “I feel that there is room for diplomacy here. I know that my counterpart in Canada has also expressed that same position. So, we have been in touch. My hope certainly would be that we find a way.”
He was quoted by TIN as saying that sovereignty and sensitivity cannot be “one-way streets”, and that India is willing to talk to Canada about its legitimate concerns.
“But it cannot be that a conversation is completely dismissive of my interests and my sensitivities, and I think we need balance,” he added.
Jaishankar said there are many countries where there is freedom of speech and expression. “But that cannot be a license to violent and intimidation or to propagate separatism and worse. The problem that we have faced, we have seen activities which have been justified in the name for freedom,” the minister was quoted by TIN as saying.
Jaishankar went on to speak about a “smell test” that he said he has for every country. “I have a very simple smell test for every country in the world. If you think that’s right, would you like that to be done to you? And mostly I don’t get an answer,” he added.
The external affairs minister’s statement came months after tension between India and Canada escalated following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations against India.
In September 2023, Trudeau alleged a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June on the Canadian soil.
India outrightly rejected the claims, calling it ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’. Jaishankar had earlier said India has not closed its doors and is willing to look at any “relevant and specific” information Ottawa may want to share on its allegation.
Canada is yet to provide any evidence to support its claim of an Indian hand in the killing of Hardeep Nijjar.
Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was killed outside a gurdwara in Canada’s Surrey on June 18.