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The Beacon

Canada and India tensions over alleged murder of Sikh activist


India, in modern times, has evolved to be a strong and prosperous democracy. Through connections between many powerful nations, it has ambled forward and taken a place among the worthy. A recent incident between Canada and India had led to strained relations due to the death of a Canadian Sikh activist. Overall, India has gained a negative perception throughout the media. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put forth an allegation that the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh activist, was actually “murder” by the Indian government, on Canadian soil. India denied this statement, and has continued to do so. To further their accusations, India has continued to blame Canada for “turning a blind eye” on the activities of Sikh citizens in their country, mainly those affiliated with terrorism, and claims it has so for years. 

Nijjar had been a part of a particular movement called the Khalistan movement. 

“The Khalistan movement is a separatist and identity movement that advocates, among other things, for carving out an independent Sikh homeland from the Indian state of Punjab,” according to Council on Foreign Relations. 

The Khalistan movement has been known to pursue brutal violence against the Indian government, known to have killed thousands of innocent people. The intensity of this movement is so extensive, a previous Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, was killed by her own two Sikh bodyguards. 

Some believe it’s time for India to have a wake up call.

“While the situation between Canada and India is unfortunate, it highlights the growing tension exhibited by India towards many western countries. The nation has maintained its “neutrality” and “isolationism” during the Russia-Ukraine Conflict yet seems to not hold these values as dear to them as they do during the conflict and have invaded the sovereignty of an ally.” Vahin Kankarla ‘25 said.

Canada and India have chosen to postpone their trade negotiations set in place for October in New Delhi before the murder. These increased tensions not only envelope Canada and India, but also nations the two maintain close ties with, through treaties, agreements and relations. For example, the United States has been put in a tough spot throughout this whole dilemma; while the US and Canada maintain strong relations through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the US has also cultivated a long-term relationship with India as well. The steps or actions these countries take to either amend or argue this problem will change the modern world for the better or worse. 

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