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‘It’s unfortunate that Justin Trudeau’s allegations against India were brought in without evidence’: USISPF chief Mukesh Aghi

Mukesh Aghi voiced, "It's unfortunate that an important issue was brought without any concrete evidence into the parliament and from there the relationship between the two nations has gone down," in an interview.

On 6 October, the United States-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) president and CEO Dr Mukesh Aghi stated it was unfortunate that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau levelled accusations against India in his parliament last month without substantial proof. He had accused Indian agents of killing the pro-Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on the basis of “credible allegations” but failed to present any document in support of the charges.

India vehemently denied the claims and expressed concern for the safety of its diplomats as well as the premises of its embassy which is continuously under attack by pro-separatist elements of the Sikh community residing in the Western nation.

Mukesh Aghi voiced, “It’s unfortunate that an important issue was brought without any concrete evidence into the parliament and from there the relationship between the two nations has gone down,” in an interview. He brought up the historical ties between the two countries and mentioned, “The relationship goes way back between the two countries. You have a large trade with over 230,000 Indian students studying there.”

He reiterated, “Canada has invested almost $55 billion in India and it’s unfortunate that a country’s prime minister goes into a parliament and says credible allegation and not being able to come out with evidence to show that those allegations are credible.” He called for mature minds to step in and de-escalate the situation “because Canada is going to leverage the United States to put pressure on India.”

He expressed that while the diplomatic dispute between India and Canada would affect India-US ties in the short term, however, he was of the opinion that the bilateral relationship would continue to develop over time and become more substantial. “The US-India relationship is geopolitical. It is tied to economic issues and the Indian-American diaspora. Yes, it will have an impact, but in the long term the relationship will continue to grow deeper and broader itself.”

He asserted that Justin Trudeau’s accusations were motivated by domestic politics and his reliance on a party with a Sikh majority for his own electoral viability. “There are two factors. One is domestic politics. The NDP (New Democratic Party) which supports Prime Minister Trudeau, is a Sikh-dominated party. So, you have to have that vote coming in. So domestic politics took over national interest.” Notably, MP Jagmeet Singh Dhaliwal who is a vocal advocate of Khalistan and anti-India separatism is the leader of NDP.

“And that’s a pity because you always drive national interest first before you drive domestic politics. The second factor is that the conversation between PM Trudeau and PM Narendra Modi for the second time was not very warm and healthy. I think Trudeau felt upset about that and that also rolled into his statement in the parliament,” the businessman observed.

He termed India a rising power and opined that the nation must exercise responsibility if it is to become a great power. “As far as the market goes, geopolitics goes, India’s importance will get more and more stronger. We have to understand, nations have to protect their interests.”

He talked about the Air India bombing of 1985 orchestrated by Babbar Khalsa and called out the Canadian government for its callous attitude in prosecuting the perpetrators. “In this case, you have Khalistanis for the last 20 years basically creating challenges for India. In the bombing of Air India where 329 people died, only one person was prosecuted. Completely shameful the process and the way they handled it.”

He affirmed, “I think as far as where it goes for India, I think yes, India will face some challenges in the short term, but in the long term I think India will keep on continuing to rise as an economic power and as a global power.”

The head of the USISPF also remarked that what is taking place in Canada is not free speech contradicting the argument frequently put forth by the Canadian government. “When you look at the statements coming out, you are taking ballots in British Columbia to create a separate Khalistan. You’re having floats which are celebrating the assassination of former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi. This is not free speech. This is all about trying to create that sense of or target towards India itself.”

He further pointed out that Hardeep Singh Nijjar whom Justin Trudeau’s administration has portrayed as a plumber is actually a terrorist. “I don’t think that’s healthy and Canada should have talked about this, worked with India from that perspective. We (Canada) talk (about) Nijjar as a simple plumber, but if you look at his background, he’s a convict. And they talk about him using a machine gun in a shooting gallery itself. I think the story and the narrative from Canada are so different from the story and narrative from India’s perspective. I think both countries have to sit down and find out and deal with this.”

He highlighted the anti-India prejudice and Modi hatred among the liberal media in the United States. “What we have seen is the progressive left, especially the media seems to project him as a demagogue, basically not understanding that here is a government in the last almost nine and a half years has brought 300 million people out of poverty.” 

He emphasised that it is clear from social media that China is escalating the situation. “Yes, it does benefit. Because if it can derail the relationship between India and the U.S. it is in the interest of China. We also have to be very cautious and mature about it to make sure that we don’t derail the whole process we have created in the last 20 years itself. So the onus is on India, the onus is on the United States to make sure the relationship does not get derailed because it’s a win-win relationship between the two countries.”

Canadian government alleges disinformation

Meanwhile, Canadian members of parliament have shared worries that internet attacks and disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining the Justin Trudeau administration run the risk of dividing Indo-Canadians in light of Ottawa’s announcement that security agencies are investigating whether the government of India was involved in the assassination of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The torrent of what they referred to as “information manipulation and disinformation” was reportedly unleashed after Justin Truedue stood in the Parliament on 18 September to accuse India of murdering the 45-year-old Sikh extremist in June of this year.

The Canadian prime minister has been the target of ruthless online assault, including claims that cocaine was discovered on his plane during his G20 visit to Delhi. He was called a homosexual who had a liking towards Hardeep Singh Nijjar. It was also claimed that he and Liberal MP Sukhminder ‘Sukh’ Singh Dhaliwal conspired with Pakistan’s spy agency to get rid of the Sikh radical who was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in the MP’s Surrey riding.

In Ottawa, the federal government is not disclosing much on the next steps in the diplomatic kerfuffle which some fear would only grow worse.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
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