- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed Indian state actors killed a Khalistani terrorist on Canadian soil without providing evidence.
- Canada has a history of supporting Khalistani terrorists and harboring extremists, which has strained relations with India.
- Trudeau’s government has been criticized for its lax approach to individuals linked to terrorism.
- Canada’s support for terrorism extends to several countries, including Egypt, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Canada’s emergence as the latest epicenter of terrorism was ironically made public by none other than the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. This occurred when he declared, in the Canadian parliament – no less, that there was credible evidence of Indian state actors having killed a wanted Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on the Canadian Soil.
What is interesting is that Trudeau never provided any proof to support his claim, even though both India and the Canadian opposition repeatedly asked him to do so. All he would say after creating this brouhaha was that it was based on internet search results.
It would have been amusing, and India might have seen the joke too, had it been the act of a comedian seeking attention rather than that of the Prime Minister of a country. Mind you, Justin Trudeau does have a history of putting his foot in his mouth, such as showing up at parties with face paint that mocked people of color. He also tends to be at the center of comedic situations, as we witnessed during the recent G20 summit in India, where his flight had technical issues, leaving him stranded for days. This wasn’t the first time he made a blunder at a G20 summit; he had previously made an embarrassing diplomatic faux pas at the Bali summit, which led to a public rebuke from the Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping.
Sadly for Trudeau’s Canada, with the backdrop of the recent Hamas terror attack on Israel, terrorism is suddenly front-page news, and consequently, Canada is getting a lot of attention of the wrong variety. Giving support to Khalistani terrorists hyphenates Canada with Pakistan, raising important security and strategic implications for the world. 
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an Upstanding Citizen… Really?
In an attempt to soften Nijjar’s image, the liberal media has tried to portray him variously as a plumber, a priest, and an activist, among others. In the eyes of some, he perhaps didn’t meet the criteria of being labeled a terrorist in Canada because his victims were mainly Indians. However, it is on public record that Nijjar had filed an application with Canadian authorities for refugee status in 1997, which was ruled as partly fabricated. A while later, he married a Canadian citizen who sponsored him for permanent residency – an attempt the Canadian authorities rejected.  Yet, he eventually managed to become a citizen of Canada, highlighting the terrorism-friendly credentials of that country.
Canada was fully aware that, in 2020, the Indian government had officially designated Nijjar as a terrorist, stating that they had evidence that he was “involved in exhorting seditionary and insurrectionary imputations and also attempting to create disharmony among different communities in India”  and that in 2022, India announced a USD 12,000 reward for his arrest . To top it off, in 2019, Nijjar had been put on the no-fly list by the United States.
Canada’s Bromance with Khalistani Terrorists
Canada’s historical involvement in supporting and facilitating terrorism traces back to the early 1980s when it became a preferred destination for India’s Khalistani terrorists. These militants established a thriving ecosystem in the country, with significant support from the Canadian government. In 1984, Talwinder Singh Parmar, a mastermind of terror and a convicted murderer of two Punjab police officers, sought refuge in Canada after his release from an Indian prison. Shortly thereafter, he initiated plans for a terrorist attack on Indian assets.
Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s late father and the then-Canadian Prime Minister, was given an intelligence briefing indicating Parmar’s intentions to target Indian assets – an advice he promptly ignored. This negligence on Trudeau Sr.’s part culminated in the tragic bombing of Air India Flight 182, claiming the lives of all 329 people on board, with the majority being Indian-origin Canadians. Following the bombing, the Canadian government declined to cooperate, as Trudeau Sr. refused to extradite Parmar to India, using the questionable rationale that India, despite being a member of the Commonwealth, did not recognize the sovereignty of the Queen, who was Canada’s monarch.
The Khalistan movement originated in the Indian state of Punjab in the late 1970s, partially due to the political machinations of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. However, the sustenance of this movement is attributed to Pakistan, which harbored resentment against India for its loss in the 1971 war and its subsequent partition. Furthermore, several Western countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and West Germany, were involved in assisting and sheltering Khalistani terrorists, partly as a means to exert influence over India.
Throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s, Khalistani terrorists continued to wreak havoc in India. Their actions included the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a Chief Minister, numerous police officers, several Indian Army officers, and the killing of 20,000 to 25,000 civilians. [7,8] However, by the mid-nineties, the Khalistani terror movement had been effectively eradicated in India. Sadly, remnants of the movement found refuge in many Western countries, with Canada emerging as the most favored destination for many of them.
For the next three decades, Indian governments watched these extremists in Canada indulge in anti-Indian activities, including attempts to threaten India’s territorial integrity by working for the creation of an independent state, Khalistan, in the Indian state of Punjab. These anti-Indian activities have also included threats against Indian diplomatic missions in Canada, the explicit endorsement of violence as a political tool, and a public event in Brampton, Ontario, which glorified the 1984 assassination of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by Khalistani terrorists.
Canada has played an important role in keeping the Khalistani movement alive, which experienced a resurgence about four to five years ago, partially related to a sharp increase in drug use in Panjab – thanks to the actions of India’s archenemy, Pakistan.  Many criminal elements involved in the drug trade became involved in reviving the Khalistan movement as a way to garner support from the Canadian Khalistani networks. As these criminal syndicates expanded their operations in India, their rivalries spilled into Canada. Many believe that Nijjar’s death may have resulted from inter-gang rivalries. Some even suspect the involvement of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, which has a history of targeted killings abroad, including in Canada.
According to some reports, Canada was in possession of a list of these criminals as early as 2018, but no action was taken.
Another significant incident highlighting Justin Trudeau’s relationship with the Khalistani network was his invitation of a convicted terrorist, Jaspal Atwal, to a diplomatic reception organized by the Canadian delegation during Trudeau’s 2018 state visit to India. Atwal had been convicted in 1986 for attempting to assassinate an Indian state cabinet minister who was visiting Vancouver Island, a crime for which he had served time in prison in Canada. Atwal was invited to India by a Canadian member of parliament and was seen posing with Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, as well as Canadian cabinet ministers and MPs during the said reception.
Naturally, India has been anything but amused by Canada’s love affair with these criminals. A spokesperson for India’s external affairs recently pointed out that “If we’re talking about reputational damage, if there is one country that needs to look at this, I think it is Canada and its growing reputation as a haven for terrorists, for extremists and organized crime.”  The Indian government has further noted that Canadian officials aren’t concerned by the actions of “Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” 
Haven for Global Terrorism
India is not the only country having issues with Canada’s support for terrorism in other countries.
According to internal government documents obtained by Global News , Canada maintains a confidential program that allows certain “high-profile” foreign nationals to be granted special “public policy” entry visas so long as it is in Canada’s “national interest.” Ordinarily, such individuals would be barred from entering the country for reasons of national security, war crimes, human rights violations, or involvement in organized crime. Approximately 3,000 such visas were issued between 2010 and 2017.
One individual, retired Brig.-Gen. Khaled Saber Abdelhamed Zahw, a “high-ranking” member of Egypt’s military when it orchestrated a coup against President Mohamed Morsi’s government in 2013, was deemed inadmissible into Canada by Canadian security officials when he applied for a visa. Generally, an inadmissibility finding would bar most people from entering Canada. However, this finding did not prevent Zahw and his wife from obtaining a visitor visa from the Canadian embassy in Egypt in April 2015.
In 2020, a Pakistani human rights activist named Karima Baloch was killed in Canada, with suspicion pointing towards Pakistani state agents living in Canada as the culprits. No action was taken against the suspects, believed to have been sheltered and supported by Canada.
Canada also has a history of providing support to LTTE terrorists, who were involved in a violent terrorist movement against Sri Lanka for four decades.
The sheer laxity or complicity of the Canadian government becomes evident from the fact that Canadian intelligence recruited Tamil interpreters and translators from the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, some of whom turned out to be members of the LTTE.
Ironically, Canada, along with the United States, has been targeting various Sri Lankan governments at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for not taking decisive action against LTTE terrorism.
It is worth noting that the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora holds significance as a voting bloc in Canada, much like the pro-Khalistani elements from India.
A Brief on Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau became the prime minister of Canada in 2015 and has won three federal elections since then. In the most recent election, he secured the position of Prime Minister with the backing of various allies, including the New Democratic Party led by Jagmeet Singh Dhaliwal, who is known for his support of the Khalistani extremist movement.
Trudeau’s tenure as prime minister has been controversial in more ways than one. Indeed, he has the dubious distinction of being the first prime minister of Canada found to violate ethics law.  In November 2016, opposition members strongly criticized him for his fundraising methods, which they regarded as a “cash for access” scheme.” 
In February 2018, Trudeau faced criticism when his government extended an invitation to Khalistani extremist Jaspal Atwal for a dinner party at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi. 
In 2019, Trudeau issued an apology for wearing blackface and admitted that he couldn’t recall how many times he had worn racist makeup.
Trudeau’s domestic political compulsions have forced him to pander to the supporters of the Khalistani movement, many of whom are members of Trudeau’s party, and some are even members of his cabinet.
For all his talk of being a liberal and a democrat, Trudeau invoked a rarely used emergency powers to quell the “Freedom Convoy” blockades led by truck drivers. The irony was that he was concurrently supporting blockades in India carried out by anti-farm law protestors whose movement was significantly influenced by Khalistani elements. 
Road Ahead for India
To counteract the propaganda promoted by Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadian government, India has initiated a series of actions.
Furthermore, India has made its intentions clear to initiate Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action against Canada due to allegations of sponsoring terrorism. India asserts that it possesses substantial evidence of Canadian complicity in harboring and aiding terrorists who act against India.
India has also reduced the diplomatic presence of Canada in India to ensure parity and prevent the misuse of diplomatic offices for aiding Khalistani elements or facilitating the escape of Indian criminals to Canada.
India might gradually reduce the number of Indian students who choose Canada as their destination for higher education, encouraging them to explore other countries that offer a friendlier and safer environment. Such a shift could have significant economic consequences for Canada since Indian students constitute the largest group of international students studying there.
India will likely suspend discussions on the India-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, India may start reviewing the status of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) granted to Indian Canadians, emphasizing that it’s a privilege and not an automatic entitlement.
In addition, India may consider diplomatic downgrading and reducing the number of people from Canada who can visit India going forward.