Jaishankar exposes Canada’s duplicity on dealing with Khalistanis, calls it ‘vote bank’

New Delhi:  Canada’s response to the Khalistani issue appeared to be constrained by its “vote bank compulsions” and India will have to respond if the activities impinge on its national security and integrity, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

In an interactive session at an event here, he also said that the Khalistani issue has impacted the ties between the two countries in many ways in the last few years.

India has been asking Canada against giving space to pro-Khalistani separatists and extremists elements.

“For us how Canada has dealt with the Khalistani issue has been a long-standing concern. Because very frankly, they seem to be driven by vote-bank politics,” Jaishankar said.

“Their responses have all been, to the best of my understanding, actually constrained by what they regard as vote bank compulsions,” he said.

The external affairs minister said it made it clear to Canada that if the activities there impinge on India’s national security, it will respond.

“We made it very clear and I have done so in public, which is that if there are activities which are permitted from Canada that impinge on our sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, then we will have to respond,” he said.

“It is something which is a continuing conversation with Canada; not always a satisfactory conversation but it is something on which we are very very clear. You can see that in many ways in the last few years, it has impacted our ties,” he said.

Earlier this month, India slammed Canada after visuals surfaced on social media of a float in Brampton that reportedly celebrated the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

On India’s ties with Pakistan, Jaishankar said New Delhi cannot allow terrorism to be normalised.

He said it is not possible for India to have normal relations with Pakistan until the policy of cross-border terrorism is abrogated.

“We can’t allow terrorism to be normalised; we can not allow that to become the basis for getting us into discussions with Pakistan. To me it is a fairly common sense proposition,” he said.

“I am still a little perplexed as to why we had not arrived at this position earlier. But we have arrived at it now. The issue really is that until there is an abrogation of this policy of cross border terrorism , clearly it is not possible to have a normal relationship with that particular nation,” Jaishankar said.