Canada appears unable to contain the growing diplomatic crisis with India

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Toronto (Canada), Oct 7 (EFE).- Canada is unable to contain the growing diplomatic crisis with India caused by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by accusing New Delhi authorities of the murder of a Sikh leader and It may worsen with the expulsion in the coming days of dozens of Canadian diplomats from the Asian country.

Canadian public broadcaster CBC reported on Friday night that India has given until October 10 for Canada to withdraw around 40 diplomats from the country, which represents two-thirds of the Canadian legation.

When asked by EFE, a spokesperson for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs limited himself to repeating the statements that the head of the ministry, Mélanie Joly, made on October 3, when she recognized the crisis that bilateral relations are going through.

"In times of tension, because there are indeed tensions between our two governments, more than ever, it is important for diplomats to be on the ground. That is why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic presence in India," said Joly.

The magnitude of the Indian response to Trudeau's accusation seems to have taken the Canadian government completely by surprise, which in recent weeks has tried to reduce tension, even turning to its closest allies.

This same Friday, Trudeau had a telephone conversation with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, in which, according to the Canadian Prime Minister's Office, the two leaders discussed the crisis between Ottawa and New Delhi.

"Prime Minister Trudeau provided the latest information on the current situation between Canada and India. The two leaders stressed respect for the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the need to ensure the security of their citizens. They also stressed the importance of lowering the tension in that context," the Canadian Government explained in a statement.

But as Aurel Braun, professor of International Relations at the University of Toronto, pointed out to EFE, not only is Canada failing to calm the situation, the statements by Trudeau and Joly that the Canadian government has no intention of aggravating the conflict are emboldening the India.

Braun, like virtually all of Canada's international relations experts, cannot understand Trudeau's actions and words on September 18.

That day, Trudeau referred to the assassination in June in western Canada of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a leader of the Sikh minority who advocated the creation of an independent state, called Khalistan, in the Indian Punjab region and who had been described as a terrorist. by New Delhi.

The Canadian Prime Minister explained how Canadian intelligence services had been investigating for weeks "credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the murder of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar."

And he concluded by warning: "What is important today is that the Government of India takes this matter seriously. It is extremely serious and has serious consequences in terms of international law."

"It doesn't make any sense," Braun said of Trudeau's speech, then adding that "it's something that should never have happened" and describing the Canadian politician as "naive."

The academic points out that it is especially serious because Trudeau has been in power since 2015 and, in addition, since his childhood he has been immersed in the world of foreign relations thanks to the fact that his father, Pierre Trudeau, was also Prime Minister of Canada from 1968 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1984.

"It seems that Trudeau and his advisors did not realize the danger of making this kind of public accusation. It is nothing short of diplomatic negligence," Braun said seriously.

Some analysts have pointed out that the Canadian prime minister's statement was directed at the 770,000 Sikhs living in Canada.

Trudeau and his Liberal Party are under intense pressure from the main opposition group, the Conservative Party, which is ahead in voting intention polls in a context in which early elections could occur at any time.

But if that is the move, it is a very dangerous maneuver. Braun recalled that the population of Indian origin living in Canada is 1.4 million people, of which only half are Sikhs.

"We have to wait and see if this attempt to reduce tension works. But I am not optimistic," concluded Braun.

Julio Cesar Rivas

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