India-Canada Khalistan Controversy: Understanding Indo-Canadian diplomatic tensions | Business Upturn

India-Canada Khalistan Controversy: Understanding Indo-Canadian diplomatic tensions

The India-Canada Khalistan row, a complex geopolitical issue, has strained diplomatic relations. The resolution of this issue remains a significant challenge, leaving the future of India-Canada relations hanging in the balance.

The India-Canada Khalistan row has emerged as a significant geopolitical issue, involving complex historical, political, and cultural dimensions. This contentious topic revolves around the demand for a separate Sikh state, Khalistan, which proponents argue would address perceived injustices faced by the Sikh community in India.

Historical Background


The recent strain in the diplomatic relations between India and Canada can be traced back to the Khalistan movement, a Sikh separatist movement that aimed to establish an independent state in Punjab, a region in northern India. This movement, which began as an armed rebellion in the late 1980s, was marked by a demand for a separate homeland by Sikhs. The violent phase of the movement lasted for over a decade and was eventually suppressed by the Indian government, resulting in the death of thousands, including key Sikh leaders.

India has consistently accused Canada of providing refuge to Khalistani activists. The recent exacerbation of tensions between the two countries is largely due to India’s concerns about pro-Khalistani groups operating from Canada.

Recent Events

The conflict was triggered by the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Nijjar, who was designated as a “terrorist” by India, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18. He was known for supporting the demand for a Sikh homeland in India’s northern state of Punjab.

Following his death, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations in parliament that there was credible evidence of the Indian government’s involvement in Nijjar’s assassination. In response, the Indian government dismissed these allegations as “absurd” and asked Canada to crack down on anti-India groups operating in its territory.

As the row escalated, India suspended visa services for Canadian citizens. This decision was announced by Visa service provider BLS, citing “operational reasons” for the suspension.

The Khalistan movement is at the center of these tensions. It is a Sikh independence movement that India accuses Canada of sheltering. The movement has its roots in the demand for a separate Sikh state in Punjab.

This diplomatic row has strained relations between the two countries and continues to be a topic of international concern. The governments of both countries are yet to find common ground to resolve this issue.

The diplomatic fallout from these events has been significant. Both countries have expelled diplomats, and India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens. This diplomatic impasse is still ongoing and continues to evolve. The Indian government has recently issued a warning to its citizens residing in Canada, particularly students, due to an increase in anti-India activities and hate crimes.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has stated on the ongoing India-Canada dispute, “No specific information was shared by Canada on this case (Nijjar case). We are willing to look at specific information. From our side, specific information regarding criminal activities by individuals based on Canadian soil was shared but has not been acted upon,”.

As this diplomatic impasse continues to evolve, it remains a topic of international concern. The resolution of this issue necessitates finding common ground between the two governments, a task that is yet to be accomplished. The future of India-Canada relations hangs in the balance as both nations navigate this complex and sensitive issue.