If the Nobel Committee is looking for a new category for political chicanery, the lead candidate is undoubtedly Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. How else then could one explain that for the last ten days he has been able to hang on to attention on just one word—allegation? In a brilliant example of diversion tactics, Trudeau has managed to bring India-Canada relations to an all time low for political expediency even if it meant that getting closer to extremists spells doom in the longer term perspective.
Based on “credible” allegations, Trudeau charged that agents of the Indian government were responsible for the killing of Canadian national, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a declared terrorist by New Delhi. In the same breadth Trudeau has demanded that India cooperate in the investigation; and the willing ally he found in his play was none other than the United States.
Senior officials of the Biden administration were quick to call for “accountability” and their disdain for external “transnational repression”. What Trudeau and Joe Biden conveniently forget is that the manual for extra judicial killing, including taking out own nationals, was written by the United States.
Legally Trudeau might not have known that allegation in the absence of evidence stands to be thrown out in a court of law; but as a student of English literature Trudeau must have known the difference between allegation and evidence. What the Canadian Premier seems to have forgotten is that talking about allegations one hundred times does not turn it into evidence. Even senior Canadian politicians are saying that they are yet to see anything concrete on the Nijjar killing other than what they have found on the internet
Instead, to shore up a tottering leadership within the Liberal Party and with opinion surveys showing that if polls were held tomorrow, he would be shown the door, Trudeau dialed Joe Biden, another leader at the bottom of the toting pole. Trudeau might hang on to the Khalistanis in a desperate attempt to stay in power, but picking a fight with India is not going to keep Biden for four more years in the Oval Office .
The more Trudeau talks, the bigger the hole he is digging for himself. His self inflicted wound of saying that investigations are complete but Indians are not cooperating is proof enough of a rambling politician searching for a way out. And in the process he has made things more difficult for his alliance partners in the Five Eyes, all of them with the exception of Washington, sheepishly trying to stay out and for obvious reasons.
For close to forty years now, India has been dinning into the ears of Canadian leaders the heinous nature of the Khalistani militants and their terror connections; but somehow Prime Ministers from Pierre Trudeau chose not only to ignore but cozy up to these elements. And tragic results have come about as in the bringing down of Air India Flight 182 in 1985 off Ireland killing 329 persons, mostly Canadians.
Then and even now India has a right to say that Canada has been soft on terrorists, if not openly patronising for sake of votes. Justin Trudeau would do well to remember what President George W Bush had to say after 9/11 : “If you feed a terrorist, you are a terrorist; if you house a terrorist, you are a terrorist”.