External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday (26 September) raised the issue of the India-Canada diplomatic row, the 'ideological' agenda behind various democracy rankings and the Manipur violence issue.
He highlighted the "organised crime, related to secessionist forces, violence and extremism" in Canada, and expressed concerns over them being "very permissive" due to political reasons.
The External Affairs Minister also said that if Canada has 'specific' and 'relevant' information regarding Khalistani terrorist Nijjar's killing, India was open to look at it.
Jaishankar was speaking at the 'Discussion at Council on Foreign Relations' in New York.
Here are five key takeaways from Jaishankar's interaction at CFR:
Concern Over Organized Crime in Canada
Jaishankar drew attention to the rise in organized crime in Canada, linking it to secessionist forces, violence, and extremism.
He pointed out that these issues are deeply intertwined and emphasized that India has been in dialogue with Canada about specifics and information related to these issues.
"In the last few years, Canada actually has seen a lot of organised crime, relating to the secessionist forces, organised crime, violence and extremism. They're all very, very deeply mixed up. So in fact, we have been talking about specifics and information," he said.
Information Exchange and Extradition Requests
Jaishankar said that the Indian government has provided Canada with substantial information regarding organised crime and its leadership operating from Canada.
He revealed that there have been several extradition requests from India to Canada, with identified terrorist leaders being among those requested for extradition.
"We have given them a lot of information about organized crime and leadership, which operates out of Canada. There are a large number of extradition requests. There are terrorist leaders, who have been identified," he added.
Concerns About Threats and Attacks
Jaishankar expressed grave concerns over threats faced by Indian diplomats and attacks on Indian consulates in Canada.
He attributed the permissiveness of such incidents to political reasons in Canada.
"Our concern is that it's really been very permissive, because of political reasons. So we have a situation where our diplomats are threatened, our consulates have been attacked...A lot of this is often justified, as saying that's how democracies work," he said.
Response to Trudeau's allegations
In relation to allegations by Canadian PM Trudeau over alleged involvement of Indian government "agents" in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing, Jaishankar clarified India's stance.
He assured that the Indian government does not endorse such actions, but also stressed the need for specific and relevant information from the Canadian side.
"We told the Canadians that this is not the government of India's policy. Secondly, we said if you have something specific and if you have something relevant, let us know. We are open to looking at it...The picture is not complete without the context in a way," he said.
On Democracy rankings and Manipur
On the question of various democracy rankings and whether the Modi government was concerned about the perceived democratic backsliding in India is going to undermine its efforts to become a rising power, Jaishankar said that the people who are writing these reports have a "strong bias".
"Often, they distort facts. Many of these reports are riddled with inaccuracies. So, I'd put it to you, there's an ideological agenda out there. I don't know why it is hard to understand," he said.
On Manipur, Jaishankar said efforts are on in the Northeast Indian state by the local and the central governments to find a way by which a sense of normalcy returns and there is adequate law-and-order enforcement.
"...I think one part of the problem in Manipur has been the destabilising impact of migrants who have come," he said.
"But there are also tensions which obviously have a long history which precede that. And today, I think the effort is on the part of the State government and the Union government to find a way by which a sense of normalcy returns, that arms which were seized during that period are recovered, that there is an adequate law-and-order enforcement out there so that incidents of violence don't happen," the minister said.
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