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EXCLUSIVE! S Jaishankar on Khalistani free-run in Canada: Democracies must have larger sense of responsibility

In an exclusive interaction with Ambassador TP Sreenivasan on Asianet News Network, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar underscores the importance of nations, particularly democracies, assuming a larger sense of responsibility when dealing with forces propagating hostility from their territory.

EXCLUSIVE interview with S Jaishankar on Khalistani free-run in Canada
First Published Sep 18, 2023, 9:55 AM IST

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that countries, especially democracies, need to have a larger sense of responsibility to the world and to their own well-being when it comes to dealing with forces spreading vitriol against other nations from their soil. The remarks came during Jaishankar's exclusive interaction with Ambassador TP Sreenivasan on Asianet News Network.

Watch the full interview below

EXCLUSIVE! S Jaishankar: 'India doesn't say 'we are leader of Global South'; Need to shed 1980s-90s syndrome'

Asked specifically about concerns over relations with Canada in light of Khalistani activities being permitted there, "We would like good relations with Canada as we would with any other country. Canada is part of G20. It is a country with which there is a historical relationship. Our problem is when, for whatever reason, such countries give space in their politics for activities, which directly impact us," Jaishankar said.

When pointed out by Ambassador Sreenivsan that the presence of four Sikhs in the Canadian cabinet could be a factor, the minister said, "I am in politics. It is not that I do not think there should not be political compulsions. But everybody, especially democracies, must temper that with a larger sense of responsibility to the world, to their image and to their own well-being. Forget us for a moment. The kind of forces which are emboldened, they are not good for the country where all of this is happening."

When asked if he saw a lack of appreciation of the concerns raised by India, the foreign minister said that the country is focussed on generating that appreciation. "We will see where it goes," he said. 

Recalling an incident during the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his concerns to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about specific "extremist groups" involved in "anti-India activities" within Canada, particularly addressing the surge in Khalistani activities over recent months.

Prime Minister Modi strongly voiced his apprehensions regarding these groups that advocate for India's separation, promote violence against Indian diplomats, damage diplomatic facilities, and pose threats to the Indian community and their places of worship in Canada.

However, Trudeau remained steadfast in defending these extremist elements. While addressing the media in New Delhi, the Canadian Prime Minister argued that the substantial Canadian diaspora should have the freedom to express themselves and make choices without interference from any of the "numerous countries known to be involved in interference challenges."

Encouraged by Trudeau's stance, the banned secessionist organization, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has announced a rescheduled date for the Khalistan referendum in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, now set for October 29th.

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