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    Canada Confronts India Over Alleged Assassination

    enSeptember 21, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Canada-India Relations Reach All-Time Low Over Alleged KillingCanadian PM Justin Trudeau accused India of involvement in a Canadian citizen's killing on Canadian soil, breaching sovereignty and potentially damaging relations between democratic nations.

      The relationship between Canada and India reached an all-time low this week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of involvement in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. The allegations, made on the floor of the parliament, were a serious breach of Canada's sovereignty and a rare occurrence between democratic nations. Hardeep Singh Najjar, the identified victim, was shot in a temple parking lot in June, leaving the community in shock. However, the motive behind the killing remained unclear until Trudeau's formal allegation this week. The Indian government's response is crucial as this accusation, if proven true, could significantly impact the relationship between the two countries. It's important to note that such accusations are rare between democratic nations and usually involve legal channels for extradition. The seriousness of Trudeau's allegation highlights the gravity of the situation and the potential consequences for both nations.

    • The complex history of a Sikh man's journey to lead a Canadian temple amidst the desire for an independent Sikh country called KhalistanA 45-year-old Sikh man became the head of a Canadian temple, his journey intertwined with the longstanding desire for an independent Sikh nation, Khalistan, rooted in India's partition and violent crackdown in the 1980s

      The life of a 45-year-old Sikh man who became the head of a local temple in Canada in 2020, involves a complex history rooted in the desire for an independent Sikh country called Khalistan. This cause, which dates back to India's partition in the late 1940s, gained momentum in the 1980s when armed militants occupied the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest site. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi responded with military force, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people, primarily Sikhs. This violent crackdown led to widespread anti-Sikh violence and the assassination of Gandhi herself. The advocacy for Khalistan, viewed as terrorism by the Indian government, continues to be a contentious issue.

    • Sikh migration to Canada and advocacy for an independent KhalistanDuring the violent Sikh separatist movement in India, many Sikhs migrated to Canada, leading to a large Sikh community. One prominent figure, Najjar, advocated for an independent Khalistan on Canadian soil, but his nonviolent actions were perceived differently by Indians and resulted in his being labeled a terrorist and sought for extradition.

      The violent period of the Sikh separatist movement in India during the 1980s resulted in increased migration of Sikhs to countries like Canada, where they formed large communities. One prominent figure, Najjar, moved to Canada in the 1990s and advocated for a referendum for an independent state of Khalistan on Canadian soil. Although mostly nonviolent, this movement was perceived differently by Indians, who saw it as tied to the violent history of the separatist movement and accused Najjar of having roles in violence and bombings in India. The Indian government declared him a terrorist and sought his extradition from Canada, highlighting the complex and conflicting narratives surrounding the Sikh separatist movement.

    • Diplomatic row between Canada and India over killing allegationsBoth Canada and India have expelled diplomats and paused trade ties due to allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of a Canadian citizen. India denies the allegations and accuses Canada of harboring terrorists. Modi's supporters hold a Hindu nationalist vision and see the need for a strong leader to protect India from perceived threats.

      The diplomatic row between Canada and India over allegations of Indian involvement in the killing of an Canadian citizen on Canadian soil has reached new heights, with both countries expelling senior diplomats and pausing trade ties. India has denied the allegations and accused Canada of harboring terrorists. This dual response from India reflects its domestic politics, with Prime Minister Modi's image as a strong protector of the country reliant on perceived threats. In the past, Modi has used such threats, including the idea of Khalistan, to rally support. The current allegations against India's government have not swayed Modi's supporters, who hold a Hindu nationalist vision that sees India as historically weak and in need of a strong leader. The upcoming Indian elections may see this issue become a talking point. However, Trudeau's accusations against India go beyond rhetoric, accusing the government of murder on Canadian soil, which has not been met with concern from Modi's base.

    • Modi's image as a strong leader strengthened by accusationsDespite accusations of state-sponsored violence, Modi faces few repercussions domestically and from Western allies due to India's growing importance as a counterbalance to China and a large economy.

      Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image as a strong leader who uses violence to protect his country seems to be strengthened by the accusations of state-sponsored violence, rather than weakened. Domestically, there have been few repercussions for Modi, and even India's Western allies have responded mutedly. This may be due to India's growing importance as a counterbalance to China and a large economy, making it a valuable partner for these countries. Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, who has put his reputation on the line in making these accusations, may face a test in how far he can push this issue and rally his allies. The investigations into the matter may take years, and the truth may never be known, but Modi may have learned that he can get away with such actions.

    • India's growing influence and Canada visa disputeIndia's economic promise and strategic role enable it to assert itself despite controversies, while US investigations continue with no clear resolution in sight

      India's strategic position in the world, including its economic promise and role as a counterbalance to China, is giving it a sense of security and strength that allows it to push back against accusations and even potential wrongdoing without facing significant consequences. This was highlighted in the recent conflict with Canada over visa applications. Meanwhile, in the US, the investigation into President Biden and his son Hunter's affairs continues, with Republicans accusing the Justice Department of favoritism towards the current administration. Attorney General Merrick Garland denied any interference and emphasized the department's commitment to following the facts and the law. The Biden administration also announced a $600 million plan to provide free COVID tests to American households as cases continue to rise.

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