Trudeau made ‘huge mistake’, US will choose India over Canada: Ex-US defence official on Khalistan row

Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin
Image Source : ANI Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin

Amid ongoing tensions between India and Canada, former US defence official Michael Rubin opined that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a “huge mistake” with his explosive allegations over Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing and said that the United States will choose New Delhi over Ottawa due to the former’s ‘strategic importance’.

In an interview with news agency ANI, Rubin said, “Prime Minister Trudeau I think has made a huge mistake. He has made allegations in a manner which he hasn’t been able to back. Either he was shooting from the hip and he doesn’t have the evidence to support the accusations he made against the government.”

He further said that Trudeau needs to explain why his government is sheltering a terrorist. “…Let’s not fool ourselves, Nijjar was not simply a plumber, any more than Osama bin Laden was a construction engineer. He had blood on his hands from multiple attacks,” he further said.

He also criticised US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after the latter expressed concern over Trudeau’s claims said that the US stands against “transnational repression”, saying the current situation surrounding Nijjar and the Khalistani movements is actually “transnational terrorism”.

The former Pentagon official also expressed doubt with Trudeau’s allegations. “When Justin Trudeau says trust me, I wouldn’t trust him in the best of times, all the more so against the backdrop of an election campaign. He’s personally losing ads,” Rubin added.

US will choose India over Canada: Rubin

Highlighting that Trudeau’s bombshell allegations linking India’s role in Nijjar’s death is more harmful for Canada, Rubin said that the US will choose New Delhi over Ottawa due to strategic importance with the former. 

“I suspect that the United States doesn’t want to be painted a corner to choose between two friends. But if we have to choose between two friends, increasingly we’re going to choose India on this matter, simply because Nijjar was a terrorist, and India is too important. Our relationship is too important,” he told ANI.

The ex-Pentagon official also noted that India’s strategic importance is higher than Canada, especially in view of the Indo-Pacific region and the growing concern of Chinese aggression. Rubin slammed Canada for picking a fight with India like “an ant picking up a fight against an elephant” and further asserted that Trudeau will not serve as Canadian PM for long, referring to his poor approval ratings.

He also criticised Trudeau for being ‘short-sighted’ and going ‘too far’, adding that Nijjar was a designated terrorist who was possibly involved in the assassination of another Sikh leader and responsible for several attacks. 

“Justin Trudeau was playing domestic Canadian politics because as he struggles in his re-election campaign, many Sikh activists are in crucial swing districts. But again, this isn’t something unique to Canada…I think Justin Trudeau was acting as a politician,” Rubin further mentioned.

India-Canada relations

The relations between India and Canada nosedived dramatically earlier this week after Trudeau made bombshell allegations saying that there was ‘credible evidence’ linking the role of ‘agents’ of the Indian government to Nijjar’s murder. Nijjar, a designated terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.

India angrily rejected the allegations as ‘absurd and motivated’ and both sides expelled a diplomat from their respective countries. Since then, India has suspended visa services for Canadian nationals and sought a reduction of Canadian diplomats in New Delhi citing threat of “anti-India activities”. India has labelled the allegations as “politically motivated”

Meanwhile, Trudeau has failed to provide any evidence about India’s role in Nijjar’s killing. On Friday, he claimed  that Ottawa had shared the “credible” allegations about the killing of the Khalistani terrorist with New Delhi “many weeks ago”.

Additionally, Blinken said that America is “deeply concerned” about the allegations raised by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding India’s involvement in the killing of the Khalistani terrorist and asserted the importance of accountability and that India should work with Canadians on the investigation.

India has also described Canada a “safe haven” for terrorists and extremists and asked the country to come down hard on anti-India elements operating from its soil. On September 20, Khalistani terrorist and wanted gangster Sukhdool Singh Gill was shot dead in Winnipeg. His death was confirmed by authorities on Thursday

Lawrence Bishnoi, who is currently in jail in Delhi, claimed responsibility for his murder. In a Facebook post, Bishnoi claimed that the Sukhdool was allegedly involved in the killings of several people associated with different gangs. The report of his killing came less than 24 hours after the National Investigative Agency (NIA) issued a list of wanted criminals who were either residing in India or fled. 

(with ANI inputs)

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