NEW DELHI: External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said there is a room for diplomacy to address the ongoing bilateral row between India and Canada, adding that both sides are in touch to ease the tensions.
The relationship between India and Canada plummeted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.India rejected Trudeau’s allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”.
Speaking at a summit in the national capital, Jaishankar said both sides have been in touch and hoped that a way would be found to resolve the row.
At the same time, the minister asserted that “sovereignty and sensitivity” cannot be one-way streets.
“My hope certainly would be that we find a way … Sovereignty, sensitivity – these cannot be one-way streets. They may have their concerns. I have never ever with any country said that I am not willing to talk to them about their legitimate concerns,” he said.
“But it cannot be that the conversation is completely dismissive of my concerns and my sensitivities,” he added.
Earlier, Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly had also said that she was in touch with her Jaishankar and will continue to do so because it’s a relationship that spanned decades and the two countries have very strong people-to-people ties.

‘In contact with Jaishankar’: First acknowledgment of ministerial-level talks amid India-Canada tensions

While diplomatic tensions between the two countries persist, India had last month resumed some visa services in Canada, more than a month after they were suspended at the height of the row.
Canada has already withdrawn 41 diplomats and their family members from India.
Jaishankar explained India’s overall proposition that he said could apply to Canada as well.
“There are many countries where there is freedom of speech and expression including India. But that cannot be a license to advocate violence and intimidation or to propagate separatism, extremism and worse,” he said.
“So the problem that we have faced is really that we have seen activities which have been justified in the name of freedoms,” he said.
“Now, I have a very simple smell test for every country in the world – which is if you think that is right, would you like that to be done to you? And mostly I don’t get an answer,” he added.
The external affairs minister said both sides have been in touch.
“It is a conversation that has been going on for a long time and unfortunately, in this particular case, in Canada, events took a certain turn,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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