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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Addresses Canada's Complex Issue: Mixing Separatism, Crime & Terrorism

On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasised that Canada has witnessed a significant presence of organised crime intertwined with secessionist forces, violence, and extremism. During a think-tank event in New York, Jaishankar stated, “They’re all very, very deeply mixed up,” underlining the importance of understanding the entire situation within this context.

He disclosed that India has been persistently providing Canada with information about these elements, and numerous extradition requests have been submitted, yet there has been minimal response from Ottawa. He affirmed, “specifics and information”, adding, “There are terrorist leaders who have been identified.”

“We have a situation where actually our diplomats are threatened, our consulates have been attacked... a lot of this is often justified as saying, ‘well, thats how democracies work’,” Jaishankar commented, alluding to the Canadian authorities' use of the "free speech" argument to allow Khalistani separatists free rein.

In certain editions of its late September 27th issue, TOI covered Jaishankar's response to Canada's accusations regarding India's involvement in the assassination of Khalistan separatist and terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Jaishankar clarified that Canada had been informed that the Indian government does not endorse transnational assassinations, and if Canada possesses specific and pertinent information regarding the assassination, New Delhi is willing to examine it.

Jaishankar's denial was prompted by a query from former US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster during the Council For Foreign Relations event. During this discussion, the minister also highlighted Canada's “permissive” stance towards extremist violence carried out by separatist groups opposed to India, which stems from Canada's internal political dynamics.

Numerous inquiries centred around the dispute between Canada and India , with one query seeking Jaishankar's perspective regarding the claimed "intelligence" from the Five Eyes alliance implicating India in the assassination. Jaishankar responded assertively, stating, "“I’m not part of The Five Eyes, I’m certainly not part of the FBI. So, I think you’re asking the wrong person.”

The diplomatic tension involving the United States, Canada, and India continues to shadow Jaishankar, even as new information about the Nijjar assassination has come to light this week. Recent revelations suggest that the assassination may have involved a minimum of five individuals. Initially, reports indicated the involvement of two assailants in the attack, possibly with one serving as the getaway driver. The attackers discharged 34 rounds into Nijjar before fleeing in a getaway vehicle, reportedly carrying three occupants.