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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has found himself in a soup after his passing comment on India in the House of Commons to please a few in the domestic minority community. The India-Canada relationship is at stake now and may remain so for a few more months. India has taken this as an opportunity to address terrorism and separatism with Canada.

The Story So Far

On September 18, this year, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, made a crucial statement of credible allegations against India in Parliament. Trudeau accused Indian agencies of being involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was a prominent Khalistani leader and also a Canadian citizen. The statement created a crucial Spurr in relations between the two countries. Both nations responded by expelling the diplomats from their respective countries. India paused the visa processing of Canadians for an undefined time period. Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed by an anonymous person in June this year Surrey in British Columbia, Canada.

A Distorted Map. PC: Vajiram

Who is Nijjar?

I’m not going to discuss his life history, but I want to let you know about the different perspectives on it. India and Canada have different perspectives on that person, according to a Canadian citizen and a prominent figure in the Sikh community of Canada, but according to India, Nijjar was a terrorist who was the chief of Khalistan Tiger Force, a terror outfit notified by the ministry of home affairs of the government of India in February this year, and he was also mounted on the head with a 10 lakh Indian rupee.

Historical Connection

If we are analysing these current escalations and issues, we have to connect some dots that were hidden in the past. When the Britishers left India, it was the land of so many cultures, languages, traditions, and religions. Pakistan became a Muslim country. Along with that, other religious peoples also had some ambitions and demands for a separate nation called Khalistan. I would not say all Sikhs, but some were very ambitious about that. In the 1970s, they started to fight with armour and weapons against India, paused a lot of internal insurgencies and security threats to India in 1984, and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi executed a strong operation called Operation Blue Star to wipe out the terrorists from the Golden Temple and suppress the Khalistani extremism. Unfortunately, we lost our prime minister in the aftermath of the operation. When India requested the extradition of Khalistani leader Talvinder Singh Parmer in 1982, Canada rejected it. A few years later, Parmar masterminded the bombing of Air India Flight 183 from Toronto to Mumbai in June 1985, in which 329 people were killed. People who demanded a separate country called Khalistan started to migrate from India to different nations. A huge number of people went to Canada, where they started their lives, careers, education, businesses, and even politics.

Khalistan Lobby in Canada

Even though the Sikh religion originated in the region of today’s India’s Punjab and Pakistan’s Punjab, a fair share of the Sikh population resides in Canada now. According to the census report of Canada in 2021, there were around 770,000 sick people living in Canada, which means around 2.1 percentage of the Canadian population, but in India, the population is just 1.7 percentage, so we can see that Canada is now home to the largest population outside India. Even though they are just 2.1 percent of the country’s population, they have created a potential clout in the economy and politics of the country, and those people were pro-Khalistani in nature. In 2015, when Justin Trudeau assumed power, he inducted four Sikh men into his cabinet, while India had two. During Trudeau’s visit in 2018, a pro-khalistani man was invited to the dinner. These pro-Khalistani attitudes and appeasement aspects were condemned by India for a long time. Pro-Khalistani extremism is a threat to India’s security, but Canada is a safe haven for those separatists. The current Canadian Prime Minister and his Liberal Party are leading a minority government, and elections are on the way, so Mr Trudeau is conscious of the importance of Sikh support.

Even though the repercussions are growing day by day, Mr Trudeau has yet to release any specific evidence tying India to the killing of ninjas and to prove that violation of the sovereignty of Canada and the international rule of law. The United States stands on this matter; it seems more tilted towards Ottawa than New Delhi. USA’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan, said that would not give any exceptions and India should cooperate with Canada. US State Secretary Antony Blinken also took the same stance which supports Canada. If we take the words of Mr Trudeau,  the Five Eyes, a group of secret agencies of in the UK and Canada. Australia and New Zealand have found and given credible information and evidence to Ottawa that connects India to the killing.


This article has examined the ongoing diplomatic crisis between India and Canada, which was sparked by the killing of a pro-Khalistani leader who was a Canadian citizen. The article has argued that both countries should resolve this issue through diplomatic measures without compromising national sovereignty or integration. It has also been argued that any country that supports extremism or terrorism will eventually face the consequences of its actions, as evidenced by the experiences of the United States with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In addition to resolving the current crisis, both India and Canada should also cooperate to wipe out extremism and terrorism. This could be done through a variety of means, such as sharing intelligence, conducting joint operations, and supporting each other’s efforts to combat extremism. It is important to remember that some gains of electoral politics should not be a tussle for that. Both countries should work together to ensure peace and security in both countries for a better future. If the crisis is not resolved, it could damage the relationship between the two countries and have negative implications for trade, investment, and security cooperation. The world is now waiting for PM Justin Trudeau to give some evidence for his claim or an apology.

It Is important for both India and Canada to work together to resolve this crisis and to build a stronger partnership to combat extremism and terrorism. Both countries should put aside their political differences and focus on the common good.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies


It Is important for both India and Canada to work together to resolve this crisis and to build a stronger partnership to combat extremism and terrorism. Both countries should put aside their political differences and focus on the common good.

Bureau, T. H. (2023, February 17). MHA designates two outfits as terror organisations under UAPA. 

Haidar, S. (2023, September 23). Why have India, and Canada tensions worsened?: Explained. The Hindu. 

India, P. T. of. (2023, September 23). US envoy says Canada received “Five eyes” intel against India: Report. 

By Subhash S

Subhash is a graduate on International Relations from Central University of Kerala and is passionate about research and analysis on foreign policy, geopolitics, and global affairs.