Trudeau and his pro-Khalistan politics: India should crack the whip

Lalit Shastri

Extending support to the farmers agitating for complete withdrawal of new farm laws introduced by the Modi Government in India, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had expressed concern and said his country will “be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest”.

How peaceful the protest was got demonstrated by the Republic Day violence in Delhi that was fanned by Khalistani elements, mainly in Canada, US and Pakistan.

It is an entirely a different matter that Trudeau later talked to Prime Minister Modi over phone to seek COVID vaccines from India. This could be a good diplomatic move to build bridges but his kind of politics that relies on support from Khalistan groups is only jeopardising global peace.

At the June 2020 Canada-led Ottawa Group meeting on World Trade Organization (WTO) reform and COVID-19, it was underscored by Canada that more than ever now was the time to work closely together with international trading partners because Canadians depend on open and flowing trade. It was emphasised that priorities in this direction must include greater transparency on export restrictions, besides “predictable and open trade in agriculture”.

A WTO joint statement from countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Union, China, Japan, United Kingdom, New Zealand and United States, which was released on the request of Canada on 22 April 2020, opposed agriculture export restrictions and emphasised that countries should refrain from implementing unjustified trade barriers on agriculture and agri-food products and key agricultural production inputs.

The Joint statement reiterated the need to ensure that supply chains remain open and connected so that international markets can continue to function in supporting the movement of agricultural products and agriculture inputs, which plays an instrumental role in avoiding food shortages and ensuring global food security.

Further the WTO declaration emphasised that restraint will have to be exercised in establishing domestic food stocks of agricultural products that are traditionally exported so as to avoid disruptions or distortions in international trade.

The collective will of the WTO member nations is also opposed to imposition of agriculture export restrictions and implementation of unjustified trade barriers on agriculture and agri-food products and key agricultural production inputs.

It is in this backdrop, it’s shocking though not the least surprising that Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau took a u-turn on the Canadian government’s stand vis-à-vis trade barriers on agriculture and agri-food products and he tried to lecture India by opposing Modi government’s farm reforms and supporting the farmers bent upon maintaining status quo with relation to the MSP (minimum support price) regime and the agriculture markets (Mandis) that presently function under the vice-like-grip of middlemen (adhatias in Punjab) who are essentially the money spinners for political parties. It is this stranglehold that Narendra Modi is targetting. The Modi Government wants to guarantee maximum benefit to farmers by driving out the middlemen from the procurement process, prevent huge stocks of grain from rotting in government or the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, curb corruption, and ensure proper storage and smooth movement of agricultural produce with the help of the private and corporate sector.

One doesn’t need rocket science to conclude why Trudeau chose to be a double face. Obviously, he was being dictated by the political expediency of keeping the Khalistani group in Canada on his side, when he chose to meddle in the internal affairs of India much to the chagrin of the Indian citizens and majority of the Indian diaspora across the world.

When Trudeau sides with the pro-Khalistan elements to further his politics, one wonders what’s wrong with him. He is not so naïve that he can’t see what’s axiomatic. The world knows who the Khalistanis are and what they stand for. If Trudeau is blank on this count, he he should be reading “Khalistan: A Project of Pakistan” by veteran journalist Terry Milewski. It reveals, as the forward to this report says, the concept of Khalistan as a project of Pakistan, designed to subvert the national security of both Canada and India. Thirty-five years after the horrific Air India bombing, and 73 years after the independence and partition of India and Pakistan, Milewski conducted a complex and penetrating research into the geopolitical dimensions of the Khalistan cause and its affiliations with Pakistan’s ongoing policy of practicing state terror as statecraft, the report goes on to underscore.

In June 2019, Punjab Chief Minister and the unquestioned Congress leader in his state, Capt. Amarinder Singh had cited a 2018 public report released by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and urged the Modi Government at the Centre to take serious note of disclosures about the Khalistan groups and mount global pressure on Canada to put an end to the use of its soil to spread terror in India. “India had, for too long, been soft towards Canada and needed to crack its whip aggressively, even seek UN sanctions if needed, to end the growing threat once and for all,” the Punjab CM had said in a statement.

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