NEW DELHI : The credibility of the Canadian government’s allegations made regarding India’s involvement in the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader remains poor, said US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) CEO Mukesh Aghi. Aghi, who was at the UN General Assembly session, said the noise around Canada’s allegations had largely died down. In an interview, he stated that the US has chosen to remain largely silent on the allegations given its sizeable political and economic interests in India. Edited excerpts:
One thing was that heavy-hitter presidents and prime ministers were missing. You didn’t have the Indian prime minister there. You didn’t have President Xi or Putin. So there was a vacuum in global leadership at UN. That was the first thing. Second, unlike last year, Ukraine was not the burning issue. So the burning issues are more climate and Global South asking for more reforms at UN. There were financing discussions for women empowerment and climate transition.
Were the Canadian allegations against India the elephant in the room at the UN General Assembly session?
One thing is that the noise has abated. Canada’s accusations against India were not sticky. People saw this as more of a political ploy than protection of the national interests of Canada, a country which has a good relationship with an emerging power. And people saw Trudeau sacrificing that, and there was no evidence presented. At the same time, if you look at history, Americans went into Pakistan and got Osama bin Laden. They knocked out Saddam Hussein. And you look at the efforts to knock out Fidel Castro and others. So I think countries do take action for national interest. It came out very clearly that Canada was not trying to control the Khalistanis but was using it as a platform for a vote bank. So I think the credibility of the Canadians, in my discussions, was very, very poor.
Did you get that sense from other neutral countries as well?
If you look at the Five Eyes reaction, they were all muted. America’s reaction was more to appease the progressive left. They were looking at a bigger issue. That is, how to deal with China. And India plays a pivotal role not only in dealing with China, but India also becomes a critical market for US companies. So keeping that picture in mind, the Americans had a rather subdued response. I’ve talked to a lot of my colleagues. Some said that “we know the Prime Minister (Modi) very well and he will not go in that direction”. And others did bring up slight concern because you had both the New York Times and Washington Post, trying to hammer on the image of India, which is a rising soft power. Will that damage the image? My reaction was no, because India has denied that and just said, “give us the evidence”, and so nothing has come out. So I think that story is dead.
Source : Mint