Don’t allow anti-India acts in Canada, PM tells Harper


Prime VIP
Toronto, June 28

The Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has asked his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper not to let the Canadian soil be used for promoting extremism against India with the hope that the government in Canada is “alive to what is happening”.

Dr Manmohan Singh has made his stand clear about the role of NRI Sikhs, especially, those living in Canada. According to him, by and large the members of Sikh community are peace loving, yet, a small group of people took the path of extremism. “The Sikh community in Canada is prosperous and well integrated with the Canadian life. Most of them are peace loving and good citizens of Canada,” Dr Manmohan Singh said at a joint media interaction in the company of host Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their bilateral talks.

His statement that some elements “wedded to terrorism” outside India, including in Canada, who try to keep the issue of Sikh militancy alive, thereby asking Ottawa to curb such anti-India activities from its soil, has sent clear message to the hardliners.

To a pointed question, Dr Singh said that a small group hardliners were doing great disservice to the Sikh community, India and good relationship with Canada by indulging in anti-India activities.

However, government official clearly hinted that the matter regarding reviewing of the black list was being looked into and the Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry were in touch on the subject.

The statement of Dr Manmohan Singh also made it clear that relief could only be given to those who are innocent and no FIR was pending against them in India. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Paramjit Singh Sarna and many Sikh organisations had been demanding reviewing of the blacklist.

The stand of Dr Manmohan Singh assumes significance as it came on the heels of the 25th anniversary of Kanishka bombing in 1985, which claimed 329 lives.

Dr Singh said he had firm faith that the community would not allow its religious institutions and other places to encourage extremism. “Extremism of the religious variety is something not in tune with the growing realities of the integrated world community and globalised community,” he said.

Earlier during his speech at the banquet hosted by Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh said despite global economic crisis, the Indian economy had shown resilience and was well on its way to return to an annual growth rate of 8 to 9 per cent. He said India sought an external environment that was peaceful and conducive for achieving development goals. “Prime Minister Harper and I have also identified education as an area of high priority. In India we have embarked upon a massive education and skill development programme. Canadian Universities and academic institutions are renowned for their excellence and world-class education. We should aim to collaborate in the cutting edges of technology and build the knowledge economy of the 21st century” Dr Singh said.

One of the greatest strengths of Canada is its ability to welcome and assimilate peoples from across the world. The Indian-origin community in Canada today numbers approximately 1.1 million. The community constitutes a bridge between the two countries that has remained strong and unshakeable even in the most difficult circumstances.

The Indians and the Canadians enjoy a natural empathy with each other. Let us build upon this foundation to create a more just, fair and equitable world and one which upholds human dignity, he said.