Critics say Mr Trudeau’s lack of action against the separatists is about vote bank politics.
Sikhs make up a little over 2 per cent of Canada’s population. In British Columbia, Sikhs comprise around 6 per cent of the province’s population. In Surrey, where Mr Nijjar was killed, Sikhs make up 27.4 per cent of the population.
“From India’s point of view, and I can completely understand this, they don’t see how you can have a peaceful call for a Khalistan referendum,” Prof Fair said.
“How can the destruction of the Indian state be peaceful? But the reality of Western speech protections is that, in fact, that speech is protected.”
Still, the West is going to have to “figure out a way to accommodate India’s legitimate security concerns because we expect India to accommodate ours”, she said.
New Delhi is especially sensitive to failures in symmetry and reciprocity, Prof Fair noted.
“Delhi is expected to jump through our (the West’s) hoops, but when Delhi asks us to jump through some of their hoops, and we decline to do so, there is a lot of resentment generated. And so I think that we have to find ways of being much more vigilant and taking on these Indian requests.”
The Canada-India relationship has been “kind of a dialogue of the deaf for 40 years”, Mr Milewski said.
“Indian politicians are banging the table saying, ‘How can you allow this kind of propaganda? Why don’t you crack down, lock them up?’ And the Canadians say, ‘Look, it’s freedom of speech.’ And so then the argument becomes, where exactly do you draw the line?
“In the UK, since the Terror Act of 2006, you cannot glorify terrorism, that’s an offence. But in Canada, we don’t have such legislation. So you can.”
Meanwhile, Mr Milewski warned: “The Khalistanis have been winning the information war because the West generally has been sitting back and letting it happen.
“We haven’t been pushing back. We’ve allowed… a whole generation in Canada, in the Sikh diaspora, to grow up believing that Sikhs want an independent state.”
He added: “They haven’t been to Punjab. They haven’t noticed basic facts, like, for example, in the last election (in Punjab), the only separatist party running got something like 2.5 per cent of the vote and no seats.”
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