“Their Political Compulsion To Blame India”: S Jaishankar Amid Canada Row

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said what is happening in poll-bound Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar is mostly due to their internal politics and nothing to do with India.

Mr Jaishankar said this while replying to a question on why Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is criticizing India.

While interacting with senior journalists during a visit here, he also said the country needs a strong and active Prime Minister like Narendra Modi to bring further reforms in various sectors including external affairs to make a “Viksit Bharat (developed India)”.

“India’s image globally is now actually much much higher than it had been ever… Canada is an exception. You see the different country heads are praising Bharat and its Prime Minister,” the external affairs minister said.

He said a section of pro-Khalistan people are using Canada’s democracy, creating a lobby and have become a vote bank.

The ruling party in Canada has no majority in Parliament and some parties depend on pro-Khalistan leaders, he said.

“We have convinced them several times not to give visa, legitimacy or political space to such people which is causing problems for them (Canada), for us and also for our relationship,” Jaishankar said.

But the Canadian government has not done anything, Jaishankar said, adding that India sought the extradition of 25 people, most of whom are pro-Khalistan, but they did not pay any heed.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in September last year of the “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Nijjar. India has dismissed Trudeau’s charges as “absurd” and “motivated.” “Canada did not give any proof. They do not share any evidence with us in certain cases, police agencies also do not cooperate with us. It is their political compulsion in Canada to blame India. As election is coming in Canada, they indulge in vote bank politics,” the external affairs minister said.

He said the Indian Prime Minister is regarded highly by many country heads.

“Recently, the prime minister of a Pacific country touched the feet of Modi while the Australian PM calls Modi as Boss. Even (US) President Biden wanted to know the secret of Modi’s popularity,” Jaishankar said.

The external affairs minister admitted that there are some sorts of differences with China and Pakistan.

“Till the Modi government came we were tolerating it. We were turning the other cheek. We were not acting. After Modi ji came, things have changed. You saw Uri, Balakot. So, we have made it very very clear today that any threat of terrorism, cross border terrorism which comes from Pakistan will get the appropriate response from India,” he said.

On the border dispute with China, he said, “In the last four years, an attempt has been made to put pressure on us by bringing a lot of troops to the Line of Actual Control. We have very strongly countered it. Today, thousands of troops of the Indian Army are on deployment in the line of LAC alongside China. We are very clear, we are there, we are strong, we are deployed.” When it comes to national security, the Modi government will never make a compromise, he said.

On Nepal’s move to replace its Rs 100 currency note with a map that shows the disputed territories with India is “unilaterally”, Jaishankar said that it is not going to change the situation on the ground.

The Nepal government on Friday announced the printing of a new Rs 100 currency note with a map that shows the controversial territories of Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani, already termed as “artificial enlargement” and “untenable” by India.

To a question, he said that some Indians are trapped in Cambodia, where they are allegedly being held against their will and forced to carry out cyber frauds.

He said such cases have been noticed and the ministry in Delhi and the Indian embassy in Cambodia are very active on this issue.

“I personally took up this issue with the government in Cambodia. We know that some people, including a few from Odisha, have returned home,” Jaishankar said.

The minister informed that similar cases were also reported in Myanmar, Thailand and Russia.

“We are very much on alert. In some cases, Indians have been taken through agents. We have issued a very clear order to file cases against such persons and ask the concerned government to prosecute them.”

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