GUNTER: Trudeau’s stance on India vs. China is puzzling

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I won’t pretend to know the truth about Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Sikh leader who was shot dead as he left his gurdwara in Surrey in June. After the service.

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Was Nijjar just a refugee from India who came to Canada in 1997 and started a successful plumbing business? Or was he, as the Indian government claims, a leader of the Khalistan Terror Force who trained violent militants in the Lower Mainland to carry out attacks in India?

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The Indian government had issued an arrest warrant for Nijjar in connection with a 2007 bombing in Punjab, and media in India have linked him to the 2022 killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik, a Surrey community leader and acquitted Air India bombing suspect .

But allegations are not proof.

Regardless of whether Nijjar was a terrorist or a trafficker, what is truly important is the possibility that the Indian government was behind his murder in Canada in broad daylight and in front of witnesses. As BC Premier David Eby said Monday, this is “deeply disturbing.”

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The Indian government has described allegations that they were behind Nijjar’s murder as “absurd”. But CSIS briefed Eby, and the prime minister’s response bolsters Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claim that there is “credible” evidence that the two burly men shot Nijjar while he was sitting in his pickup truck, and then in one of a third Man driving vehicle fled, worked for or was ordered by the Indian government.

As the prime minister said in Parliament on Monday, “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

It doesn’t matter that Nijjar may not have been a citizen. He entered the country 26 years ago with a fake passport and was initially denied refugee status. He then entered into a marriage of convenience in order to be allowed to stay, but this was also rejected by the government. However, he was never deported.

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Even though he recruited, trained and financed violent Khalistani separatists, the Indian government has an obligation to ask us to extradite him, not to execute him on our soil by an extrajudicial death squad. This is not how true allies treat each other’s sovereignty.

All of this goes a long way toward explaining why relations between Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were so strained during our prime minister’s recent trip to the subcontinent. Perhaps the frosty relationship between India and Canada was not due to Trudeau’s ineptitude in foreign policy, at least not entirely.

But the difference in the tough, direct way Trudeau treats India stands in stark contrast to the way he kowtows and defends himself against China.

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China has set up at least four stations in Canadian cities for its state police from which it could spy on Chinese citizens in Canada and intimidate Canadian citizens of Chinese descent in support of Beijing’s policies and actions.

This is little different than sending assassins here to exterminate your country’s enemies. But while Trudeau was so tough on India that they left him out of the recent G20 summit, neither he nor his ministers are showing similar toughness toward China.

There is evidence from CSIS that China interfered in our elections – evidence that is at least as “credible” as CSIS’ evidence against India. Yet Trudeau has all but ignored the evidence against China.

Even with the two Michaels (Michaels Kovrig and Spavor), who were held captive by the communist government for almost three years, Trudeau gave the impression that he was not pushing too hard for their release.

On several trips to China, neither he nor his ministers put much pressure on the Beijing government. Meanwhile, Trudeau appears to have been so aggressive toward Delhi that after about 30 minutes, years of trade diplomacy were unraveled.

Why so hard on one but not the other?


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