Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson are prominent members of G7, the almost-all white club that rules the world. Let’s talk about Johnson first. He was behind the Brexit movement, which many, even in Britain see as a xenophobic, isolationistic movement. But he’s pretty much got what he wanted.
Last year, Indian farmers were rampaging against farm bills that the Indian government wanted to implement. Note that this was purely an internal matter of India. But the protest movement took on a decided Sikh character. There are many Sikhs in the UK who Johnson wanted to placate.
When asked about the farmer protests in India on the floor of the British Parliament, Johnson made a fool of himself. He had no idea that the protests were taking place, otherwise he wouldn’t have replied then, “We have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan but these are pre-eminently matters for those two governments to settle”.
What a joke of a man! He thinks that farm protests in India are a matter for India and Pakistan to settle. Johnson was invited to attend this year’s Republic Day parade in India. Inviting a British prime minister to an event when India literally broke free from the tyranny of the British empire is always a sensitive issue.
The Indian government was in a fix. What to do? Invite Johnson after his gratuitous interference in India’s internal affairs or rescind the invitation. Johnson too would have faced some uncomfortable questions from the media in India about his remarks over the farm protests. Fortunately, Covid, which Johnson has badly mismanaged in his country, came to his as well as the Indian government’s rescue.
The old strain of Covid was already raging in the UK. Then a new strain sprung up in the country. Johnson cancelled his visit. He had the perfect excuse. The Indian government heaved a sigh of relief.
Johnson’s cousin across the pond, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, is no more welcome in India either. In 2019, there were general elections in Canada. Photos of Trudeau wearing blackface emerged right before the elections. Blackface is when whites paint themselves to look black and mock black people. There were numerous reported instances of Trudeau wearing blackface. His chances in the elections looked dim; unfortunately he won. It seems that white Canadians are quite blase about white racism.
Last year in June, when the Black Lives Matter protests were raging in the US, Trudeau was asked about Donald Trump’s response to them. Trudeau gave Trump the 21-gun salute, in the sense that he stood transfixed, motionless for a full 21 seconds without saying anything in response. It was very embarrassing. Canada depends upon the US for most of its economy, so there. Trump has even called Trudeau two-faced in the past.
But when it came to the farm protests in India, Trudeau let loose. There are many Sikhs in Canada; Trudeau wants to cultivate them. He has expressed concern about the farm protests and despite India’s express objections, has said that he will keep raising the issue. India of course is nowhere near as large an economic partner of Canada as the US is, so Trudeau considers himself immune from any retaliation from India.
Trudeau doesn’t realize how sensitive religion is as an issue in India. India lost a great prime minister, Indira Gandhi, because of the Khalistani movement that emanated in part because of the unstinted support of Khalistanis in North America. More recently, with the lure of the Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan is trying to create a wedge between Sikhs and Hindus.
The wounds inflicted in the eighties between Sikhs and Hindus are still tender. Pakistan is an enemy nation of India, and while not acceptable, it is understandable that it will want to sow sedition in India. India has done nothing wrong to Canada or the UK. Both Trudeau and Johnson should just shut up and concentrate on their own affairs.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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