External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday apprised Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong of India’s perspective on the strained relationship with Canada, specifically addressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations. The discussion took place during the India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue. Jaishankar highlighted the key issue from India’s standpoint, emphasising concerns about the space given to extremism and radicalism in Canada.
In a joint press conference with Wong, Jaishankar stated, “From our point of view, the key issue is really the space which is being given to extremism and radicalism in Canada”, as quoted by news agency PTI.
Jaishankar mentioned that Australia has good and strong ties with both India and Canada. “So, it was important that Australia get our perspective on the issue,” Jaishankar remarked, as per PTI.
The strained ties between India and Canada intensified after Trudeau’s allegations in September, suggesting potential links between Indian agents and the killing of Sikh extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia on June 18. Nijjar had been designated as a terrorist by India in 2020.
India vehemently rejected Trudeau’s claims, deeming them absurd and motivated. The aftermath of Trudeau’s remarks led to the expulsion of a senior diplomat by each country, along with India enforcing parity in diplomatic presence at Canadian missions, resulting in the withdrawal of 41 diplomats. India has consistently called on Canada to provide evidence supporting Trudeau’s allegations.
“If you have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us. We are not ruling out an investigation and looking at anything which they may have to offer. They haven’t done so,” Jaishankar reiterated during a recent visit to the UK.
Australia To Host Indian Ocean Conference
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong revealed that Australia will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February next year. She expressed enthusiasm about the conference being an opportunity to discuss practical solutions for the key challenges facing the region.
“I’m pleased to confirm today that Australia will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February of next year. It’s an opportunity to discuss practical solutions for the key challenges facing the region. And I also look forward to welcoming Jaishankar to Australia,” Wong stated during a press briefing on the India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue alongside External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar, as per news agency ANIindia.
The Indian Ocean Conference, initiated in 2016 in Singapore, has grown into a consultative forum for regional countries to deliberate on regional affairs. Working towards fostering cooperation for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), the conference brings together critical states and principal maritime partners of the Indian Ocean region.
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