KHALISTAN ISSUE (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     17th November 2023        
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Context: The External Affairs Minister of India recently addressed India's longstanding concerns about pro-Khalistan extremism in the UK during his meetings with the country's top leaders.

Khalistan Movement

  • About: The Khalistan movement signifies a longstanding struggle seeking the establishment of a separate and sovereign Sikh state in the Punjab region, spanning parts of India and Pakistan.
  • Origin: This movement originated in the aftermath of India's independence and the Partition in 1947, leading to the severe communal violence and the division of the Punjab province between India and Pakistan, causing millions of refugees.
  • Operation Blue Star: The movement encountered severe repression in India, notably through military operations such as Operation Blue Star in 1984 and subsequent actions known as Operation Black Thunder in 1986 and 1988.
  • Legal Status in India: In India, the Khalistan movement and its affiliated groups have been outlawed, with government authorities viewing them as a significant national security threat.
  • Global Influence: Despite suppression in India, the Khalistan movement retains support, particularly in North India and among the Sikh diaspora in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

Khalistan and Canada Relation

  • Sikh Population in Canada: Canada boasts the world's second-largest Sikh population, trailing only behind India..
  • Hub of Separatists: Canada's liberal environment, marked by values such as liberalism, human rights, and free speech, has made it an attractive haven for anti-Indian propaganda fueled by Pakistan's ISI and separatist groups. 
  • Trudeau's Political Compulsions: Justin Trudeau, driven by political compulsions, faces the rising popularity of Jagmeet Singh and his liberal New Democratic Party (NDP) within Canada's current political landscape. 
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