India-Canada Diplomatic Row Impacts G20 Parliamentary Summit
In a significant turn of events, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to inaugurate the 9th G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit (P20) in the Indian capital today, October 13. However, what makes this summit special is not just the global participation but the notable absence of Canada. The absence of Canada from the P20 and Parliamentary Forum program list comes amidst ongoing tensions between India and Canada, primarily triggered by the killing of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. These tensions have reached a point where India has asked Canada to withdraw its diplomats, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the involvement of Indian agents in Nijjar’s killing. However, it is important to note that India vehemently denies any involvement in the incident.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a controversial figure, known for his support of Khalistan, a separatist movement seeking an independent Sikh state. He met a tragic end when two masked gunmen shot him dead. In 2020, he was officially designated as a terrorist. Media reports suggest that India issued a demand for Canada to withdraw 41 diplomats by October 10, which raised tensions even further. Sources from the Press Trust of India (PTI) report that the two countries are currently engaged in talks regarding India’s request to reduce the number of Canadian diplomatic staff within the country. India’s primary argument centers on achieving a balance in mutual diplomatic representation, a demand that Canada has thus far rejected.
The P20 Summit, hosted by the Parliament of India, is an integral part of India’s G20 Presidency. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Parliaments for One Earth, One Family, One Future.’ The event is set to be attended by the Speakers of Parliaments from G20 member countries as well as invited nations.
The summit aims to address four key subjects:
Transformation in People’s Lives through Public Digital Platforms: This topic focuses on leveraging digital platforms to improve the lives of citizens, creating more accessible public services, and harnessing technology for the betterment of society.
Women-led Development: Women’s role in development is a crucial aspect, and the summit seeks to emphasize and promote their active participation in various sectors to achieve sustainable growth.
Accelerating SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals): The United Nations has set ambitious goals for global development, and this session will explore ways to expedite progress towards achieving these critical objectives.
Sustainable Energy Transition: Energy is a vital part of any nation’s development, and this discussion will explore strategies for a sustainable energy transition, focusing on cleaner and more efficient energy sources.
The 9th G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit is not only a platform for world leaders to discuss critical global issues but also a reflection of the current strained relations between India and Canada. The absence of Canada, a G20 member, underscores the depth of this diplomatic dispute triggered by the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a controversial figure associated with the Khalistan movement. As the summit unfolds, the world will be closely watching whether the two nations can find common ground and resolve their differences in the spirit of diplomacy and international cooperation.