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Between India and Canada, US will choose...: Ex-Pentagon official

Last updated on: September 23, 2023 11:53 IST

Stating that Justin Trudeau's allegations have led to 'greater danger' for Canada than India, former Pentagon official Michael Rubin said that if the United States has to choose between Ottawa and New Delhi, it will surely choose the latter as the relationship is 'too important'.

IMAGE: Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin. Photograph: ANI Photo

He said that India is far more important strategically than Canada is and Ottawa picking up a fight with India is like 'an ant picking up a fight against an elephant'.


While referring to the poor approval ratings of Justin Trudeau, Rubin added that he is not long for the premiership, and the United States can rebuild the relationship after he is gone.

"I suspect that the United States doesn't want to be painted a corner to choose between two friends. But if we have to choose between two friends, increasingly we're going to choose India on this matter, simply because Nijjar was a terrorist, and India is too important. Our relationship is too important," Michael Rubin said while speaking to ANI.

"Justin Trudeau probably isn't long for the Canadian premiership, and then we can rebuild the relationship after he's gone," he added.

Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute Specialisation in Iran, Turkey, and South Asia.

Responding to the possibility of whether the US will publicly intervene in the matter, Rubin said, "Frankly, there's a much greater danger for Canada than India. If Canada wants to pick a fight, frankly, at this point, it's like an ant picking a fight against an elephant and the fact that matter is India is the world's largest democracy. It's far more important strategically, arguably than Canada is, especially as concern grows with regard to China and other matters in the Indian Ocean basin, and in the Pacific."

The India-Canada ties soured further after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau alleged India's role behind the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. This was followed by both countries expelling a senior diplomat in a tit-for-tat move.

However, India has denied such allegations calling them 'absurd' and 'motivated'.

Notably, the Canadian PM has failed to present any evidence to back his claims. Trudeau was repeatedly quizzed on the nature of the allegations but stuck to reiterating that there were 'credible reasons' to believe that India was linked to the death of Nijjar.

The former Pentagon official further slammed Trudeau and said that Hardeep Singh Nijjar -- A khalistani terrorist allegedly killed by his erstwhile comrades -- is not a model to use for 'human rights' and he was a terrorist involved in multiple attacks.

"Justin Trudeau might want to make this a case of human rights. The fact of that matter is, that Nijjar isn't a model one wants to use for human rights. Nijjar may have been involved in the assassination of a rival Sikh leader, just a year ago. At the same time, he has blood on his hands through multiple attacks. He entered Canada with a fraudulent passport. And the fact of the matter is this is no Mother Teresa, we are talking about," he said.

Rubin added that many of the US security community and even from Canadian security understand that Trudeau has gone 'too far'.

On being asked if Trudeau converted a domestic political obstacle into a foreign policy issue, the former Pentagon official said that Trudeau was very 'short-sighted' and was acting only as a 'politician'.

"Yes, I absolutely do think that that is the case. Justin Trudeau was playing domestic Canadian politics because as he struggles in his re-election campaign, many Sikh activists are in crucial swing districts. But again, this isn't something unique to Canada…I think Justin Trudeau was acting as a politician. He was very short-sighted, and no one should trade their short-term political convenience for the long-term relationship with the world's largest democracy," he added.

Source: ANI