US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be discussing on how to counter the Khalist movement during his virtual trip to Canada on Friday, according to a top State Department official.
While previewing Blinken's virtual trip to Mexico and Canada, Julie J Chung, US Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere, on Thursday confirmed that the issue of Khalistan will be taken up during the meeting on Friday.
"The Secretary will discuss with his counterparts a range of global and regional issues," Chung told India America Today.
While not ruling out the subject of Khalistan from Blinken's agenda, she said, "I think that just speaks back to what President Biden said about the United States being back in diplomacy, using all multilateral tools, being back in international fora like the World Health Orgzation (WHO) and the Human Rights Council."
The 2018 Public Report on the "Terrorist Threat to Canada" raised serious concerns over the grooming of pro-Khalist outfits in Canada, who are also indulged in anti-India activities.
The report said, "Some individuals in Canada continue to support violent means to establish an independent state within India. These violent activities have fallen since their height during the 1982-1993 period when individuals and groups conducted numerous terrorist attacks. The 1985 Air India bombing, which killed 331 people, remains the deadliest terrorist plot ever launched in Canada".
Sikhs in Canada are 1.4 per cent of the total population. Ontario, Alberta and Quebec are some of the provinces where the Sikh population is high.
Among the Sikh Canadian MPs who openly speak in favour of Khalistan include Jagmeet Singh, the head of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
Recently, he shared his video message on Twitter and termed the ongoing farmers' agitation in India as one of the largest protests in history and called on the world leaders to denounce the Indian government's violent response to these peaceful protestors.
Khalist separatists groups have been trying to gain ground through farmers' protests.
Furthermore, more than 400 Twitter handles run from Pakistan had been narrowed down by Indian agencies which were active to add fuel to the fire.
On January 26 when farmers assembled around Red Fort, members of Khalist separatist groups staged a protest outside the Indian embassy in Washington DC.
The protesters claimed that they had assembled to support the farmers protesting in New Delhi. Many in the mob held so-called 'Khalistan' flags and raised slogans.
( With inputs from ANI )
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