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Spirit of nationalism can foster a united approach for tackling divisive militant forces, post-Trudeau blabber

The violent activities of Khalistanis abroad and their communal overtones are aimed at injecting militancy in Punjab

Spirit of nationalism can foster a united approach for tackling divisive militant forces, post-Trudeau blabber

India has drawn lessons from the spell of terror that Punjab was made to face in the 1980s and can clearly see through the ‘modus operandi’ of its adversaries to revive trouble in this border state

The steady rise of India on the global platform expectantly helped by an extraordinarily successful G20 under India’s Presidency, the efficacy of India’s strategy of countering the mischief of Sino-Pak axis against this country and the acknowledgement worldwide of the credibility of India’s policy of building a deep friendship with the US without letting this come in the way of India’s strategic bonds with Russia - particularly in the backdrop of the ‘war in Ukraine’ - have all created a sense of desperation among those who had been building the narrative of ‘authoritarianism’, ‘majoritarianism’ and inadequate ‘safety of minorities’ over a long period against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Lobbies abroad working covertly with forces opposed to the Modi regime had elevated this narrative to the level of a political ‘proxy war’ contending that the Constitution itself was being endangered by the latter.

The ruling party no doubt had used its majority in Parliament to pass certain bills of its choice but the very fact that we have a close watch of the Supreme Court over acts of legislation - as proved by the active engagement of the apex court in scrutinising Constitutional validity of some of the decisions of the Modi government - is reason enough to have faith in Indian democracy’s strong credentials sustained by the efficacy of electoral strength of the masses here.

It is not therefore difficult to see that anti-Modi forces and the lobbies hostile to India have stepped up their activities as the next general election is drawing close.

Meanwhile, a sudden dip in India-Canada relations following the extraordinary statement made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 18 to the effect that there were ‘credible allegations’ of involvement of ‘potential agents of Indian government’ in the June killing of Khalistan protagonist - Hardeep Singh Nijjar leader of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) - outside the Gurdwara in Surrey cannot be completely dis-linked from the reality that an anti-India environ had been created - particularly in the Western world - by these lobbies.

There are three aspects of Trudeau’s statement - rightly dismissed by India as ‘absurd’ - that have to be taken note of.

One is the deliberateness with which he made an ambiguous-looking charge against the largest democracy in the world. The second is the fact that India has vigorously pursued with Canada for months before the G20 summit, the matter of inaction against the known ‘terrorists’ who were instigating violence and secessionist calls against India in the name of Khalistan, from inside Canada and who were having links with Pak’s ISI. And the last is the unavoidable conclusion - to be drawn from the plea of ‘freedom of speech’ invoked by Trudeau to cover up for a definite failure on his part to heed the serious complaints made by India.

Apart from Nijjar’s direct role in instigating anti-India violence, the attention of Canada was drawn also to several other separatist terror groups operating out of that country whose leaders were wanted for heinous crimes committed in India. They included World Sikh Organisation (WSO), Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).

Multiple dossiers were handed over to the Canadian side but India’s deportation requests were ignored in an expression of brazen support for these elements.

Canada should also have been taking note of the gang rivalries among Khalistani elements that resulted in some targeted killings inside that country.

Expression of ideological or political dissent is legitimate but a call for violence to carve a ‘fundamentalist’ state out of the territory of a democratic country, is totally unacceptable. It would not be wrong also to presume that somewhere Trudeau was influenced by the anti-India lobbies abroad making a hue and cry over the alleged suppression of dissent by the Modi regime.

The lack of response from the Joe Biden administration to the statement given by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, a US-based Khalistani leader heading Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), asking for the ouster of Hindus from Canada, seems to prove the same point.

The ascendancy of Indian nationalism must be respected by Western powers so long as the Indian leadership honoured the principle of ‘one man one vote’ that laid the substratum of democracy in this country and worked for ‘development for all’.

Nationalism strengthens a democratic state against divisive forces and works for the sovereignty and integrity of India provided there was no injection of religion into politics and any approach of appeasement or special ‘political’ treatment of any community were avoided.

There is talk in some diplomatic circles of Canada and the US that Trudeau had shared some information on Nijjar’s killing prejudicial to India, with the Intelligence-5 group comprising the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

In a neutral-sounding stand, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has advocated that Canada should take the matter to its logical conclusion and that India should cooperate with the probe. India maintains that Canada had not shared any information with it on Nijjar’s case.

Geopolitically, India has stood by the US in leading the democratic world against dictatorial regimes like China and it would be advisable for American policymakers to realise the value of bilateral interests. Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has done well by cautioning western powers against practising ‘double standards’ towards India on serious matters of national security.

India has drawn lessons from the spell of terror that Punjab was made to face in the 1980s and can clearly see through the ‘modus operandi’ of its adversaries to revive trouble in this border state.

The violent activities of Khalistanis abroad with their communal overtones are aimed at injecting militancy in Punjab and direct attacks on Hindu temples and diplomatic establishments in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia are meant to sow the seeds of communal divide in the sensitive state.

The Centre has to think of putting Punjab in the care of a senior civilian of national security background with knowledge of the history of Khalistan terror in the state.

Pak ISI is presently focusing on instigating trouble in Punjab because of the containment of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir in the period following the abrogation of Art 370 in 2019 - this is a replay of its K2 plan.

An integral view of India’s security scenario that put together geopolitical developments that were already signalling a new Cold War on the horizon, the efficacy of multilateralism in giving shape to India’s strategy and the acknowledged rise of India as a global voice on issues of war and peace, should give our policy-makers the right and the strength to show the detractors their place and counter their hostile plans against this country.

Dc Pathak
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