New Delhi, October 10
Referring to Khalistan’s unchecked separatist activities in Canada, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday that it was up to Ottawa to ensure freedoms in a democratic society were not misused by forces who advocate violence and sectarianism.
“It is important that countries now really understand how democracies should operate not only at home, but also the responsibilities that democracies have to other democracies abroad,” Jaishankar told a news conference. with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Canberra.
He was asked if South Block was concerned about the international spread of anti-Indian separatist activity, particularly in Australia. “From time to time, we have consulted the Canadian government. I myself have engaged my counterpart on this issue,” he said.
Jaishankar disagreed that the September 18 “referendum” in Brampton triggered the MEA’s warning to Indians to travel to Canada. “I want to be very clear. We issue travel advisories as a travel measure, for the safety and security of our citizens. So I urge you not to read anything in a travel advisory that goes beyond the review,” he replied. On Canada’s update of its health warning for travel to India, he replied: “What another country is doing presumably reflects their thinking and policies.” Jaishankar’s harsh rhetoric on anti-Indian separatist activity in Western countries follows an equally strong message from MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi last week recalling the bombing of the Kanishka plane of Air India against the backdrop of the banned ‘Sikhs for Justice’ preparing for a second ‘referendum’ on Khalistan in Toronto on November 6. An in-flight explosion on Air India Flight 182 ‘Kanishka’ on 23 June 1985 killed 329 passengers and crew.
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