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CIC Vancouver Island: Unpacking the escalating diplomatic crisis between Canada & India: What are the deep roots of the rift?

January 31 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm PST


“Unpacking the escalating diplomatic crisis between Canada & India: What are the deep roots of the rift?”

When Canada unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy in late 2022, it spoke of building a stronger partnership with India based on a shared tradition of democracy between the two countries. But now, after a brief interlude of bonhomie, the Indo-Canadian relationship has reverted to a deep chill. Following our Prime Minister’s announcement that Canadian police were investigating “credible allegations” of the Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, there has been a rapid downward spiral in India-Canada bilateral relations. On June 18, 2023, 46-year-old Nijjar, who migrated to Canada in 1997 and became a Canadian citizen in 2015 and who actively called for an independent Sikh state (Khalistan),w as shot dead by two masked gunmen in the parking lot of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, B.C. Canada’s allegation led to a swift reaction by the Indian government with New Delhi giving Canada until October 10th to withdraw 41 diplomats (subsequently carried out). The Nijjar episode is the latest in the ongoing saga between India and Canada over the Khalistan movement. The Indian government claims that Canada’s failure to ban Khalistani separatist groups compromises India’s sovereignty, its territorial integrity and security. With Canada-India relations at their lowest point in a long time, questions to explore are: how did we get here? And can the relationship be repaired? Reeta Tremblay, PhD, Professor Emerita of Comparative Politics at the University of Victoria will answer these questions.

Professor Tremblay’s major areas of research are secessionist movements (Kashmir) in South Asia, the politics of subaltern resistance and accommodation in post-colonial societies, democracy and governance, and comparative federalism. She has authored and co-authored several books, articles, and reviews. Her work has been widely reviewed and cited. In particular, she is considered the leading North American expert on Kashmir and India-Pakistan relations. Two of her recent books are: Religion and Politics in Jammu and Kashmir (2020) and Modi’s Foreign Policy (2017).


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CIC Vancouver Island Branch