In what is being perceived as a major diplomatic achievement for the Modi government, Canada has named pro-Khalistani organisations like Babbar Khalsa and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) in the same vein as other dreaded Islamic terror organisations in the world.
India and Canada yesterday released a joint statement which condemned global terrorism in strong words. The most remarkable part of the statement was it acknowledged and named the pro-Khalistani separatist groups as terror organisations that indulge in violent extremism and radicalization.
The joint statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs is titled as “Framework of cooperation between India and Canada on Countering Terrorism and violent extremism”.
The statement says that both India and Canada recognized the urgent need to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, to address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists. It also emphasized the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.
Further, it said that both countries have committed to work together to neutralize the threats emanating from terrorist groups such as Al Qaida, ISIS, the Haqqani Network, LeT, JeM, Babbar Khalsa International, and the International Sikh Youth Federation.
The mention of cross-border terrorism in the statement is important because many of the leaders of the Babbar Khalsa and ISYF are currently living in Pakistan.
PM Modi’s statement after the meeting also included cooperation in other fields, but the message to the Canadian government regarding their soft approach to pro-Khalistani elements was loud and clear.
There should be no space for those who misuse religion for political motives and promote separatism. We will not tolerate those who challenge unity and integrity of our countries: PM Modi
— ANI (@ANI) February 23, 2018
Justin Trudeau’s week-long visit has seen a lot of criticism in both national and international media. The Trudeau government has long been accused of being soft, even inclusive of pro-Khalistani organisations. Trudeau’s apparent refusal to meet the Punjab CM had already sparked a row in the media and diplomatic circle. Many have speculated that PM Modi and his government’s visible lack of ceremonial welcome had pushed the Canadian government into a corner and they quickly corrected their course. Trudeau met the Punjab CM on Wednesday and as expected, the Prime Minister’s welcome statement soon followed on the next day.
I look forward to meeting PM @JustinTrudeau tomorrow and holding talks on further strengthening India-Canada relations in all spheres. I appreciate his deep commitment to ties between our two countries.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 22, 2018
Trudeau had sparked another major controversy when the convicted terrorist Jaspal Atwal was extended an invitation to the Canadian official dinner. Backlash and stern stand of the Indian government quickly made the Canadian side rescind the invitation and apologised for the ‘oversight’.
Justin Trudeau fanboys in Newslaundry had already praised Trudeau’s acumen for bringing along a convicted terrorist. They had claimed that such a move would make Trudeau even more popular among Sikhs back home in Canada. Now that Trudeau has bracketed Khalistani groups with Islamist terrorist organisations like ISIS & Al-Qaida, we should await what latest spin the Trudeau fanboys can bring. As India’s unperturbed stand on terrorism has finally made Canada blink and choose between covertly backing terrorists and continuing the healthy bilateral business, we wonder if Newslaundry is now going to come up with an article describing how that smile Trudeau was meant to leave with, has turned upside down into a frown.
The Narendra Modi led government of India has been unfaltering in its stand against support to terrorism and has finally succeeded in bringing Canada to realise that to continue healthy bilateral ties, they will need to respect India’s sovereignty and take decisive steps to curb separatists in its soil. This move, coming on the back of news that Pakistan too has been isolated internationally thanks to FATF sanctions, signals major wins for Indian diplomacy.