The diplomatic spat between India and Canada over the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader in Canada has reached a new level of bitterness, as the meeting between the Canadian High Commissioner to India and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) lasted only four minutes on Sunday.
According to ANI, Cameron MacKay, the Canadian envoy, reached the MEA headquarters at South Block, New Delhi, at 10:26 am and left at 10:30 am. The meeting, which was supposed to discuss the allegations made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that India was involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, in June this year, was apparently cut short by the Indian side.
The MEA had summoned MacKay on Sunday and informed him about the decision of the Indian government to expel a senior Canadian diplomat based in India, in a tit-for-tat move after Canada had expelled an Indian diplomat on Monday. The MEA also rejected Trudeau’s charge as “absurd and motivated” and accused Canada of interfering in India’s internal matters and providing shelter to Khalistani terrorists and extremists.
The MEA statement said that India is a democratic polity with a strong commitment to the rule of law and that such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani elements who have been threatening India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also said that the inaction of the Canadian government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern and that it urged Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil.
The relations between India and Canada have been strained for a long time over the issue of Khalistan, a proposed independent state for Sikhs carved out of India. Canada is home to a large Sikh community, some of whom are sympathetic to the Khalistan cause. Canada has also been accused by India of allowing its political figures to openly express sympathy for such elements.
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