GLASGOW – In a recent incident that highlights the simmering tensions between India and Canada over allegations of Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, and the Indian Consul-General in Edinburgh were prevented from entering a Glasgow gurdwara on Friday. The diplomats had been invited to discuss issues concerning the local Indian expatriate community and consular matters.
The incident took place as a group of individuals, reportedly from outside Scotland, disrupted the planned interaction organized by the gurdwara committee. The disruptors accosted the diplomats’ vehicle in the parking lot, and one of them attempted to violently force open the car door. A swift intervention by one of the organizers prevented a potentially more serious incident.
In response to the incident, the Indian High Commission issued a statement late on Saturday, condemning the disruption and highlighting the involvement of “non-local extremist elements.” They expressed their concern about the incident and the need for suitable police action. The matter has been reported to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK, as well as local law enforcement.
The incident in Glasgow appears to be a spill-over from the ongoing diplomatic face-off between New Delhi and Ottawa. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of Indian government involvement in Nijjar’s killing have strained bilateral relations. The situation has led to protests, demonstrations, and allegations of intimidation against Indian diplomats in Canada.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time, emphasized the importance of not normalizing such acts of intimidation against Indian diplomats. Jaishankar called attention to the permissive atmosphere in Canada, which he believes allows separatist groups like Khalistan advocates to flourish. He cited incidents such as smoke bombs being thrown at the Indian mission, violence near consulates, and individuals being targeted and intimidated.
Jaishankar posed a poignant question, asking how other countries would react if such incidents occurred within their borders. He urged the international community not to overlook the alarming situation in Canada and to call out what is happening there.
In response to Jaishankar’s comments, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed concern over the allegations made by Canada and stressed the importance of India and Canada working together to resolve the diplomatic stalemate surrounding the Nijjar issue.
The incident in Glasgow serves as a stark reminder of the deepening tensions between India and Canada, which have spilled over into other nations. It highlights the urgency of finding a diplomatic solution to address the allegations and maintain diplomatic relations between the two countries.