Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Nijjar and the West

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The concern of the West over India’s suspected role in the killing of separatist Khalistani militant leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June 2023 is understandable. However, a question is whether the West that hailed the liquidation of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by the Americans in 2011 adopt a double standard. The US has often set the standards for international dealings. Americans dictate to the UN that acts as a referee to nations in war, trade, climate control and much else. When the US acts, the world takes note. Even several nations of the Islamic world look up to the US for guidance. There was not even a whimper of protest when the US task force, the Navy Seal under direct guidance from then president Barack Obama, swooped down on Abbottabad, close to the military headquarters of Rawalpindi, and shot down Laden, airlifted the body and laughed their way to glory.
India has not admitted yet that it liquidated the Khalistan leader. Canada keeps repeating that it has evidence to show the Indian government played a role in the killing and forwarded “evidence” to New Delhi. India says it got no “substantial” evidence yet from Canada. The Joe Biden administration has suggested that India must cooperate with Canada in getting at the truth. India responded to the call with a deafening silence. The Modi government perhaps believes it couldn’t care less. Self-styled opinion-makers including some Nobel Laureates have come forward to say the Western nations are not doing enough to fix the blame on India as they were somewhat mesmerized by the influence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on them or that they were being mindful of the growing stature of India in global affairs. This might have an element of truth, but the more important factor that weighs down the responses of the Western nations to the present Canada-India impasse is that they have no locus standi to apply pressure on India to “accept guilt,” if any. For, their collective euphoria to what the US did in Abbottabad 12 years ago gives other nations the licence to take similar retaliatory steps.
The Nijjar murder, as such, cannot be seen in isolation. Notably, the surgical strikes India did by intruding into Pakistani territory twice, the first in PoK along the border region and the second time deep inside, reaching up close to Rawalpindi, the Pakistani military headquarters, and doing a bombardment on what was believed to be terrorist hideouts, followed a pattern. It happened with Myanmar too. That pattern, which went unquestioned so far, was built on the premise that India followed a path shown by the US in Abbottabad.

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