Canadian PM Trudeau on Khalistan extremism: “We are always there to prevent violence, push back against hatred”

He emphasised that the “actions of the few” do not represent the entire community or Canada.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a significant meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, reaffirming their commitment to bolstering India-Canada ties across various sectors. The leaders discussed a wide range of issues, emphasizing the importance of their nations’ partnership.

Prime Minister Modi took to social media to share the news, tweeting, “Met PM @JustinTrudeau on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. We discussed the full range of India-Canada ties across different sectors.”

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also expressed the significance of India as a crucial partner for Canada.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he had many conversations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of Khalistan extremism and “foreign interference”, and Ottawa will always defend freedom of expression, and at the same time will always be there to prevent violence.

He further emphasised that the “actions of the few” do not represent the entire community or Canada.

When asked about if the issues of Khalistan extremism and “foreign interference” did come up during discussions with PM Modi during the G20 Summit.

He said, “Both the issues came up. Over the years, with PM Modi, we have had many conversations on both of those issues. Canada will always defend freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of peaceful protest, which is extremely important to us. At the same time, we are always there to prevent violence and to push back against hatred”.

“I think on the issue of the community, it is important to remember that the actions of the few do not represent the entire community or Canada. The flip side of it, we also highlighted the importance of respecting the rule of law and we did talk about foreign interference,” he added.

Notably, multiple incidents of Khalistan extremism have been reported in Canada over the past few years. 

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In June this year, a tableau parade was organised in Canada celebrating the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi, which drew severe criticism from New Delhi. In March this year, Khalistan supporters held a protest outside the Indian Embassy in Canada. They raised pro-Khalistan slogans and allegedly assaulted Indian-origin journalists present on the spot.

Multiple temples have also been vandalised in Canada by pro-Khalistani protestors, with anti-India graffiti.

He acknowledged India’s role as an “extraordinarily important economy in the world” and emphasised their collaboration on crucial matters, such as combatting climate change and fostering economic growth and prosperity for their citizens. Trudeau stated, “There is always a lot of work to do, and we will continue to do it.”

The leaders’ meeting was preceded by a visit to Rajghat, where they paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi, underscoring the respect and admiration both nations hold for India’s historical figures.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to India was part of his participation in the G20 Summit, where leaders from around the world convened to discuss global challenges and collaborative solutions.

In his statement, Prime Minister Trudeau highlighted the close ties between Canada and India, emphasizing the shared values of democracy, pluralism, and progress. He emphasized the commitment to build upon their collaborative history, particularly under India’s presidency of the G20 in that year.

As Canada strengthens its presence in the Indo-Pacific region under its Indo-Pacific Strategy, Trudeau expressed the intent to continue working together to uphold the rules-based international order, promote multilateralism, and enhance economic ties that benefit both nations and the broader region.

Canada’s Prime Minister also acknowledged the significant Indian diaspora in Canada, with nearly 1.4 million people of Indian origin contributing to the nation’s diversity and prosperity. He recognized their valuable contributions, both past and present, that have enriched Canada and made it a more inclusive and stronger country.

The meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Trudeau signifies the commitment of both nations to foster strong diplomatic relations, collaborate on global challenges, and harness the potential for mutual benefit in various sectors, further strengthening the bond between India and Canada.

Earlier in July, India also raised concerns over threats to its diplomats in posters being circulated in Canada with information on a pro-Khalistan rally to be held on July 8. The posters contained threats to the Indian Ambassador to Canada and the consulate general in Toronto.

The posters purportedly circulated by Khalistani extremists have named Indian High Commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma and the Consulate General of India, Toronto, Apoorva Srivastava accusing them of playing a role in the June killing of Khalistan Tiger Force chief and designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.