India has been appalled by no mention or references to Sikh and Khalistani extremism in Canada’s 2018 Public Report on Terrorist Threat to Canada. Indian officials have described the report as a ‘full retreat’ by Ottawa.
Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister said this was a threat to Indian and global security. Singh said the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau administration’s decision was clearly selfish, aimed at protecting its political interests in an election year.
“This will have serious consequences for Indo-Canadian relations in the long-run. Trudeau was playing with fire with his decision to assuage inflamed domestic passions through this ill-considered move”, said Singh.
The removal of eight references to Sikh extremism and organizations and six references to Khalistan comes at a time when ‘certain groups’ in the Sikh community had threatened Canada’s ruling Liberal Party with critical consequences in the coming elections. New Delhi and Ottawa acknowledged the new version of the report as the outcome of ‘domestic compulsions’ in Canada where political parties are trying to woo the influential Indian and Sikh communities. Officials have also recognized counter-terror and security cooperation, but a ‘gap’ in the higher level of Canada’s political power.
The Punjab CM said the Canadian PM’s party was inundated by activists and separatists. He fumed that such an act amounted to endorsement of the terror activities and de facto promotion of extremism.
Meanwhile, the Sikh radical group Dal Khalsa has welcomed the removal of the reference to ‘Khalistan Extremism’ from the Canada Public Safety Report 2018. The group’s general secretary Paramjit Singh Tanda said the ‘change in the report’ was a victory of lobbying and diplomatic efforts of Sikh Canadians and the diaspora.
This is the first time that Sikh and Khalistani extremism had figured for the first time in the report issued by Public Safety Canada in December 2018. The original report highlighted that Canada continues to face threats from ‘individuals inspired to commit violence based on other forms of extremism, including from Sikh extremists. It also said that attacks by Khalistanis in Canada were extremely limited, but some Canadians continue to support these extremist groups, including through financing.