India slams Canada for glorifying acts of terrorism on 39th anniversary of Kanishka bombing

The Indian High Commission in Ottawa and the consulates of India in Toronto and Vancouver organised memorial services on Sunday.
Indian envoy pays homage to victims of Air India flight Kanishka bombing.
Indian envoy pays homage to victims of Air India flight Kanishka bombing.File photo | AFP

OTTAWA: Terming the frequent acts glorifying militancy in Canada as "deplorable", India has emphasised that no government in the world should overlook the threat of terrorism emanating from its territories for political gains.

In a statement on the 39th anniversary of the 1985 Kanishka bombing, in which 329 persons, most of them Canadians of Indian descent on board an Air India flight lost their lives, the Indian High Commission here said that terrorism knows "no borders, nationality, or race".

The Indian High Commission in Ottawa and the consulates of India in Toronto and Vancouver organised memorial services on Sunday and solemnly remembered the victims of the "dastardly act of terror" in 1985.

The Montreal-New Delhi Air India 'Kanishka' Flight 182 exploded 45 minutes before it was to have landed at London's Heathrow Airport on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board, including 86 children. The bombing was blamed on Sikh militants in retaliation to 'Operation Bluestar' to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in 1984.

Indian envoy pays homage to victims of Air India flight Kanishka bombing.
1985 Kanishka bombing one of worst acts of terrorism in history: Jaishankar

Addressing the gathering, High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma said, “No government in the world should overlook the threat of terrorism emanating from its territories for political gains. Human lives are much more important than the transitory political interests,” he said.

“All terrorist activities should be met with exemplary legal and social actions before they start harming the larger humanity, Governments, security agencies, and international organisations must work in concert to dismantle terrorist networks, disrupt their financing, and counter their twisted ideologies,” he added.

The Indian mission in Vancouver also held a memorial service.

The memorial services were held at a time when relations between Canada and India are under severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations in September last year of "potential" involvement of Indian agents in Nijjar's killing.

"While thirty-nine years have passed since the cowardly act, terrorism has unfortunately assumed proportions of an existential threat to international peace and security today," the Indian high commission's statement said.

"Any act of glorifying terrorism, including the bombing of Al-182 in 1985, is deplorable and should be condemned by all peace-loving countries and people. It is unfortunate that such actions are allowed to be routine on many occasions in Canada," it added.                          

India also insisted on Friday that the Canadian authorities must take action against those advocating violence and carrying out an anti-India campaign in Canada. India lodged a strong protest with Canada on Thursday over Khalistani extremists holding a so-called "citizens court" and burning an effigy of the Indian prime minister outside the Indian consulate in Vancouver.

Asserting that terrorism knows "no borders, nationality, or race" and it is a challenge that the international community needs to combat collectively, the Indian mission here said that over the years, India has led from the front to counter-terrorism with support from like-minded countries.

Terming the Kanishka bombing "the worst ever in Canadian aviation history to date", the Indian mission said that the incident will remain an "unbearable loss" not only for the victims' families but also for humanity as a whole.

"Consul General Siddhartha Nath laid a wreath at the Air India 182 memorial, Humber Park, Etobicoke, in solemn remembrance of the 329 victims of the terrorist bombing of AI 182 on this day, 39 years ago," the Consulate General of India in Toronto posted on X along with a photograph.

In another post on X, the mission said the Consul General also attended the memorial service held at Queen's Park Toronto for the victims and met with the bereaved families.

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