(MENAFN- IANS) Toronto, Sep 22 (IANS) With Canada-India ties nosediving after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of involvement in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, his decision is being compared to that of his father Pierre Trudeau who refused to extradite Air India bombing mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar to India.
The Khalistani movement had some presence in Canada in the 1970s, but it took root here during Pierre Trudeau's time as Prime Minister when Parmar escaped to Canada after killing four policemen in India.
Though then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had forged personal ties with him during her June 1973 visit to Canada, Pierre Trudeau turned down her request in 1982 to extradite Parmar to India on the flimsy grounds that“India was insufficiently deferential to the Queen.”
Just one year after Pierre Trudeau demitted office, Parmar went on to mastermind the bombing of the Air India Kanishka Flight 182 in June 1985, killing all 329 people on board.
“Had Pierre Trudeau heeded Indira Gandhi's request to extradite Parmar to India, the bombing of Air India Kanishka and what followed later wouldn't have happened. His son Justin Trudeau is also making the same mistake by being sympathetic to Khalistani militants in Canada today,” says an Indo-Canadian politician, requesting anonymity.
Though the scale of the Kanishka bombing was huge, Canada-India relations were not huge in scale back then, he says.
“Today, the scale of our trade and people-to-people relations is huge. There is so much at stake. The damage that the current crisis will cause cannot be imagined. We have almost two million Indo-Canadians here and we did trade worth $12 billion last year. The first casualty of this stalemate, are the ongoing talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). I am not sure this will end well for either of the parties,” he adds.
Winnipeg-based businessman Hemant Shah, who was the first to sell Canadian mining equipment, green peas and a Beechcraft King Air plane to India in the 1980s, says,“It took a lot of time for the two countries to revive their trade after Canada's sanctions in the wake of the 1998 nuclear blast by India. Please keep trade separate from politics.”
As of 2022, Canada was India's tenth-largest trading partner.
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