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Canada’s Indian diaspora caught in crossfire as diplomatic relations ‘spiral out of control’

Justin Trudeau’s explosive allegation of Indian state involvement in a Sikh leader’s murder comes as New Delhi is declaring itself a ‘friend of the world’. Shweta Sharma finds Narendra Modi facing the ‘biggest test yet’ of his global reputation

Tuesday 19 September 2023 14:57 BST
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<p>Not so welcome: Narendra Modi greets Justin Trudeau at the G20 in New Delhi earlier this month </p>

Not so welcome: Narendra Modi greets Justin Trudeau at the G20 in New Delhi earlier this month

Frosty relations between India and Canada have reached a remarkable new low with accusations of New Delhi’s involvement in the assassination of a Sikh leader outside a temple in British Columbia.

In a statement to parliament, Justin Trudeau said Canada was investigating “credible allegations” the Indian state was behind the 18 June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar – a prominent religious leader who advocated for the Khalistan movement, a separatist campaign to carve a Sikh nation out of India’s Punjab state.

The two nations had already suspended talks on a free trade agreement amid a row over the Trudeau government’s response to the growing Khalistan movement, which also has supporters in Britain and the United States. Canada says members have a right to free speech as long as they do not incite or espouse violence, while India calls them extremists and had listed Nijjar as a wanted “terrorist”.

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