Trudeau’s murder charge risks upending US courtship of India

September 20, 2023


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s shocking allegations that India orchestrated the murder of a separatist leader leaves President Joe Biden caught between one of the US’s closest allies and an increasingly important partner in countering China.

Narendra Modi’s government on Tuesday denied that it had anything to do with the slaying of a prominent Sikh leader in Canada, calling the allegation “absurd.” Both nations expelled one of the other’s diplomats, and that’s before Canada has made any evidence public.

The White House reacted cautiously, with National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson saying the administration was “deeply concerned” and called on India to cooperate with the Canadian investigation. A US official acknowledged the allegations pose a problem for Biden, who just left India with relations seemingly on track.

Now the episode threatens to upend the US’s effort to court India as a counterweight to China, which was on display at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi earlier this month. The US and its allies had hailed Modi’s success in reaching a compromise on a joint communique, accepting softer language on Russia’s war in Ukraine to align itself more broadly with India in the battle with China for influence among major emerging economies.

“The Biden administration is in a no-win situation with this latest bombshell,” said Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. “If it sides with Ottawa, then New Delhi will be up in arms and, once again, question the loyalty of Washington. If it sides with New Delhi, then the US is contradicting a NATO ally.”

The US frequently finds itself torn between its efforts to defend human rights around the world and the pragmatic need to partner with government accused of regular abuses to protect its geopolitical interests. That leads to periodic tensions, such as when agents from Saudi Arabia murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Trudeau told lawmakers on Monday there were “credible allegations” that agents of the Indian government were behind the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia in June. Nijjar, 45 at the time and the temple’s president, was outspoken in both his advocacy for the creation of an independent Khalistan in the northwest and his criticism of human rights violations in India.

“The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness,” Trudeau said on Tuesday morning. Canada is going to “remain calm, we’re going to remain grounded in our democratic principles and values, and we’re going to follow the evidence and make sure that the work is done to hold people to account,” he added.

India has denied any involvement and blasted Canada for failing to take action against Sikh separatism. India had declared Nijjar a wanted terrorist and accused him of conspiring to murder a Hindu priest, among other allegations.

Without a resolution, the dispute threatens everything from pending talks to expand the modest $11 billion India-Canada trade relationship to communications between the two countries’ militaries, something that could create a headache for Biden as he seeks greater cohesion from partner nations.

Modi’s government sees Trudeau as politically beholden to the Sikh community, and expects relations with Canada to deteriorate, according to an Indian official with knowledge of the situation. At the same time, the person said, India-US security cooperation is on a strong footing and is unlikely to affected by Canada’s allegations.

“There is this evergreen challenge that the US and some of its allies face with India, concerns about what they regard as democratic backsliding,” said Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center. “But at the same time they want to ensure they don’t risk imperiling relations with a country that they view as strategically critical. Honestly, I think Washington will just stay quiet.”

The historical issue of Sikh separatism has troubled Canada-India relations for years, and politicians in both countries have tapped into the issue to win votes. Canada has the largest Sikh population outside of Punjab after many left following riots in 1984. They have also become an important political group, including within Trudeau’s administration. Modi’s party, meanwhile, has pushed policies appealing to voters who see India as a Hindu nation.

India has been historically prickly about public criticism from the US and its allies, and the US has said that it tries to voice concerns behind close doors. Speaking in Vietnam after his G-20 visit to India this month, Biden said he had raised rights issues in his recent meeting with Modi, though it’s unclear if they discussed Nijjar’s killing.

For its part, Canada pledged in a recently published strategy for the Indo-Pacific region to grow ties with India across a range of areas, while also acknowledging its growing strategic importance. The two sides had also previously expected to agree to a trade pact by end of this year but that was put on hold ahead of the G-20 summit. Canada last week postponed a trade mission to India that had been set for October.

As the India-Canada relationship worsens, the US will face a tough balancing act, according to Vivek Mishra, senior fellow at New Delhi based Observer Research Foundation.

“I expect there will certainly be back-channel discussion between the US and India on how to proceed further,” he said. “With Canada being a NATO ally and India being a strategic partner ally, the US will have to do the tightrope walk.”


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November 24,2023


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the UN climate talks in Dubai on December 1 and deliver a national statement highlighting India's climate action, sources said on Friday.

The prime minister will reach the UAE on November 30, deliver India's national statement during the United Nations' World Climate Action Summit on December 1 and return the same day, a source told PTI.

The World Climate Action Summit on December 1-2 will see heads of states and governments, leaders from civil society, business, youth, indigenous peoples' organizations, frontline communities, science and other sectors discussing actions and plans aimed at scaling climate action. 

Modi has been championing Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE movement), urging countries to adopt planet-friendly living practices and move away from deeply consumerist behaviours.

Recognising the criticality of this decade (2021-2030) for climate action, there's a call for rebalancing consumption patterns between the Global North and South.

Differences in historic emissions and contributions to global warming across nations are evident. For instance, while the US accounts for only 4 per cent of the current global population, it contributed 17 per cent of global emissions between 1850 and 2021. In contrast, India, representing 18 per cent of the world's population, has contributed only 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to date.

According to Oxfam International, a group of independent charitable organisations, the world's wealthiest 10 per cent were responsible for around half of global emissions in 2015. 

Modi had attended the Glasgow climate talks in 2021 and announced India's strategy to combat climate change.

In August last year, India updated nationally determined contributions or nation action plan to achieve the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, especially the target of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius.    

India's updated NDCs aim to reduce emissions intensity of gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and achieve 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav will also participate in high-level events and roundtables of the 28th session of the annual climate talks (COP28), including on finance for climate goals, emissions reduction, adaptation to climate impacts, and transitioning to a green economy with inclusivity.

COP28, scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, UAE, will see the conclusion of the first-ever 'global stocktake', a periodic review of collective progress to meet the Paris Agreement goals.  This assessment will shape forthcoming climate action plans or NDCs by 2025.

The climate conference may see hectic negotiations on how the fund meant to provide financial support to developing and poor countries for climate impacts should operate, and funding for adaptation. 

The global south would demand the global north to undertake rapid decarbonization and massively scale up finance and technology support to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Discontent among developing countries regarding unfulfilled promises of financial aid, particularly the yet-to-materialize $100 billion pledged by rich countries by 2020, is expected.

Some countries, especially the European Union, are expected to push for a global deal to phase out unabated fossil fuels at COP28.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of top climate scientists in the world. 

Global emissions need to drop 43 per cent below 2019 levels by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, caused largely by GHG emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

In October, Sultan Al Jaber, the president designate of COP28, urged nations to achieve a responsible phase-down of unabated fossil fuels and increase investments in clean energy. 

'Unabated' refers to fossil fuels burned without employing controversial carbon emission capture technologies, allowing for continued burning if countries utilize technologies to reduce resulting emissions.


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November 28,2023


Mangaluru, Nov 28: A woman lost her life after a fire mishap led to an explosion at a flat in an apartment building at Attavar area in Mangaluru on Tuesday, November 28. 

The deceased is identified as Shaheena Nusba (58), wife of Abdullah Kola.

It is learnt that the fire erupted at around 4 a.m. due to an electrical short circuit which led to the explosion of an aquarium. 

Nine people including five children were present in the home at the time of the mishap. Shaheena who was a cardiac patient, breathed her last when the smoke engulfed the house. 

The injured have been admitted to different hospitals in Mangaluru. All are said to safe and out of danger.


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November 20,2023


At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli forces' direct strikes on Indonesian Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the northern part of Gaza as the brutal aggression on the besieged strip enters its 45th day.

Israeli forces opened fire and launched artillery strikes on the Indonesian Hospital and the surrounding areas in the early hours of Monday.

Reports said Israeli forces are going to repeat what happened at al-Shifa Hospital and will also occupy the Indonesian Hospital as tanks surrounded the place.

Last week, Israel raided Al Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital claiming that it was a Hamas “operational center,” sharing unverified images and videos of what it said were Hamas weapons and equipment.

According to the medical team, the Indonesian Hospital was targeted without prior warning.

The strikes prompted staff at the hospital to appeal for urgent help from the United Nations and the Red Cross.

Following the strikes, the government media office in the Gaza Strip warned of another massacre that could be committed in the Indonesian Hospital.

Medical authorities in Gaza said the hospital has a capacity of 140 patients, but currently, there are more than 650 patients inside it.

The hospital is also sheltering thousands of displaced Palestinian people who sought refuge from the Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Multiple casualties were also reported in an Israeli airstrike that targeted the nearby Kuwait School where hundreds of families have been sheltering.

Also on Monday, the bodies of more than 30 Palestinians were transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza after Israeli strikes hit the refugee camps of Bureij and Nuseirat.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have repeatedly targeted hospitals, residential buildings, mosques, and churches. Under the Geneva Convention, attacks on hospitals are strictly prohibited.

Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for Palestinians hoping to be spared Israeli bombardments, which began early in October.

On October 17, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured by Israeli airstrikes on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. The attack has been condemned as an act of genocide by many governments around the world.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has urged the United Nations secretary-general to form an international committee to visit hospitals in the besieged strip to counter Israel’s “false” claims that they are used as launch pad for anti-Israel operations. Hamas has noted that the claims are aimed to “justify” Israel’s attacks on hospitals in Gaza.

The Israeli aggression has so far killed more than 13,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and injured more than 30,000 others.


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