External Affairs Minister Jaishankar Cautions Canada, Australia & UK; Know Why

New Delhi: India is deeply concerned about disruptive and violent activities of Khalistani elements on foreign soil.

The government made its stand clear in no uncertain terms on Thursday, cautioning Australian, Canadaian and the UK governments that such incidents by extremists on their territory could impact bilateral relations and have security implications for these countries.

The latest disturbing incident took place in Canada four days ago, when a float depicting the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was part of an event organised by pro-Khalistan elements in Greater Toronto Area.

The float showed the assassination as ‘revenge’ for Operation Bluestar, the Indira-ordered military action in 1984 to flush out separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and his supporters from Amritsar’s Golden Temple.

It obviously sparked anger in India.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today said at a media briefing that the float in Toronto is linked to the bigger issue of “space that Canada has continuously” provided to Khalistani elements.

“Frankly we are at a loss to understand, other than the requirements of vote bank politics, why anybody would do this… I mean, you would imagine that they learn about history and they wouldn’t like to repeat that history,” he said.

“It isn’t only one incident, however egregious it may be. I think there is a larger underlying issue about this space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence. And I think it’s not good for the relationship and I think it’s not good for Canada.”

Jaishankar stressed that India’s objection was not just about Canada, and the matter about Khalistani activities has been raised with the UK and Australia as well.

The External Affairs minister said that he had criticised British authorities for failing to protect the Indian mission in London when “Khalistan supporters took down our flag” during a protest in March.

“There have been some issues in Australia also,” Jaishankar said.

“Our point is this – they (pro-Khalistan elements) are a very small minority. We do not believe that they represent any significant body of opinion. Our plea to these governments is – look, please understand these are marginal elements, they are extremist elements, they are not good for you, they are not good for us, they are not good for the relationship. It’s not a message limited to Canada,” he said.

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