ANI Photo | “India hopes Canada takes action against extremist elements…”: MEA

India’s position is consistent on the issue of Canada as it is hoping that Ottawa would take action on extremist elements that are misusing the freedom of speech and expression in their country, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday.
While addressing a weekly media briefing on Thursday, Bagchi said India has always highlighted that the core issue remains the space given to extremists, terrorists and anti-India elements in Canada.
Asked about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks that he has seen a tonal shift in India’s relations with Canada after the US reported an alleged murder plot, Arindam Bagchi said, “I’m not exactly sure how to answer it. In the sense, this is a comment by the Prime Minister of Canada and I wouldn’t like to comment on that. But I think our position has been quite consistent and whenever this has been raised.”
Notably, the ties between India and Canada have been strained after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations about India being involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India has outrightly rejected the allegations terming them “absurd” and “politically motivated.”
“I think we have highlighted how we see the problem and frankly the core issue remains the space that is given to extremists and terrorists and anti-India elements in that country. I think you would heard also from External Affairs Minister recently as well as others about the developments of that case and the fact that if there’s something that we look into it but the core of it, the problem remains this. So I would like to say whether they have noted a shift or not. Certainly, our position has remained consistent and we would hope that they would take action on such extremist elements that are misusing the freedom of speech and expression in their country,” he added.
Trudeau has said he believes India’s relations with Canada might have undergone “a tonal shift” in the days since the unsealing of a US indictment alleging a conspiracy to murder India-designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil, Canada-based CBC News reported.
Trudeau made the remarks in an end-of-year interview with the CBC’s Rosemary Barton. He said the US indictment seems to have convinced the Indian government to adopt a more sober tone, as reported by CBC News.
“I think there is a beginning of an understanding that they can’t bluster their way through this and there is an openness to collaborating in a way that perhaps they were less open before,” he said.
Trudeau said, “We don’t want to be in a situation of having a fight with India right now over this.”
“We want to be working on that trade deal. We want to be advancing the Indo-Pacific strategy. But it is foundational for Canada to stand up for people’s rights, for people’s safety, and for the rule of law. And that’s what we’re going to do,” CBC News quoted Trudeau as saying.
Recently, the US Justice Department unsealed an indictment against an Indian national for his alleged involvement in a foiled plot to assassinate Pannun.
The Justice Department claimed that an Indian government employee (named CC-1), who was not identified in the indictment filed in a federal court in Manhattan, recruited an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta to hire a hitman to carry out the assassination, which was foiled by US authorities, according to prosecutors.
Gupta is currently in custody and has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Czech authorities arrested and detained Gupta on June 30, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic.
Reacting to the Justice Department’s indictment, the Ministry of External Affairs said the case filed against an individual in a US court, allegedly linking him to an Indian official, was a “matter of concern” and is contrary to government policy.
“We cannot share any further information on such security matters. As regards the case against an individual that has been filed in a US court allegedly linking him to an Indian official, this is a matter of concern. We have said and let me reiterate that this is contrary to government policy” the MEA spokesperson said.

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