Allegations against India: Prevent Breakdown of Shared Values that are Basis of Unity

Conflict between India and Canada has escalated over allegations that agents connected to the Indian government killed a dissident in Canada.

This is not a desirable situation, as it could shake the unity of Western nations, Japan and India, which is based on shared democratic values, such as the rule of law. It is necessary to hurry to get to the bottom of this matter.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed in Parliament the allegations linking Indian agents to the shooting in June of a Sikh separatist leader in western Canada. Trudeau said that he conveyed his concerns directly to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to India this month and asked Modi to cooperate in the investigation.

The murdered individual immigrated to Canada as a refugee more than 20 years ago and acquired Canadian citizenship. He had advocated the establishment of a Sikh-centered state in northern India and was considered by the Indian government as a “terrorist” who sought secession.

New Delhi completely denies and has strongly protested the allegations. Relations between India and Canada have continued to deteriorate, with each of the two nations expelling one of the other’s diplomats.

The involvement of a foreign government in the murder of another country’s citizen on the second country’s own soil is an unacceptable violation of that nation’s sovereignty. If India denies the allegations of its involvement, it should cooperate with the investigation to dispel any suspicions. New Delhi needs to be aware that it is being looked at with distrust by the international community.

A Canadian media organization has reported that there is evidence supporting India’s involvement, including records of communications involving diplomats present in Canada and other Indian government officials.

There is a possibility that such information has been provided by the United States through the five-nation intelligence-sharing network known as Five Eyes, which includes the United States, Britain and Canada.

However, the Canadian government has not publicly provided any concrete evidence. Now that Trudeau has named India, he should disclose the information to the extent possible.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is struggling to deal with the matter. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while expressing “deep concern” about the incident, has only urged India to cooperate in the investigation.

Washington likely considers that provoking India, which is part of the Quad framework for security cooperation with Japan, the United States and Australia, is not a good idea in countering China, which is increasing its hegemonic actions, and Russia, which is continuing its aggression in Ukraine.

The United States has been restrained in the past in its response to the Modi administration’s crackdown on opposition parties and the media in India. There is criticism of U.S. double standards among the so-called Global South of emerging and developing countries because Washington has asked them to improve their own human rights situations.

If New Delhi’s involvement in the case becomes clear, the Western nations and Japan must severely demand that India respect universal values such as human rights.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2023)