India-Canada diplomatic row will not impact military ties: Canadian Army Vice Chief

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Canada’s Deputy Army Chief Major General Peter Scott. Photo courtesy: canada.ca/en/army

Canada’s Deputy Army Chief Major General Peter Scott. Photo courtesy: canada.ca/en/army

The latest diplomatic row between India and Canada is not going to impact the ongoing bilateral military engagement and the matter has to be resolved at the political level, Canada’s Deputy Army Chief Major General Peter Scott said on September 25.

Major General Scott is leading a Canadian delegation at the Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs’ Conference (IPACC) in New Delhi that is being attended by military delegations from over 30 countries.

Also read: Why have India, Canada tensions worsened? | Explained

“To the best of my knowledge at this time, that is not going to have an impact on us. We leave the matter at hand to the political level to try and resolve,” he told PTI.

“We are happy to be here and we do not see the issue clouding matters at this point at all,” Major General Scott said.

The ties between India and Canada came under severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

India has rejected the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated” and expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move to Ottawa’s expulsion of an Indian official over the case.

Also read: Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Sikh activist whose killing has divided Canada and India?

“This is an issue between both our countries at a political level. And certainly our Prime Minister…he rose at the House of Commons and made a statement requesting India’s cooperation on the independent investigation that is currently ongoing at this time,” the Canadian Army official said.

“Between both of our armies, this is not affecting us. I spoke to your commander of the Army [Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande] last night. We both agreed that this is a political issue and has no interference on our relationship,” he said.

“As two armies we look for opportunities among other 30 nations that are currently participating in this conference to find areas where we can cooperate, train together, conduct exercises and operations so that we all can contribute to ensuring peace, stability within the region,” Major General Scott said.

“The way we see right now is that we will continue to cooperate, discuss, and enjoy great forums like this where we can exchange ideas and find solutions to the difficulties facing a lot of the Indo-Pacific nations,” he said.

The Indian Army is hosting the two-day conclave of Indo-Pacific army chiefs to evolve a common strategy to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

In his opening address at the conference, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Manoj Pande said India’s outlook for the Indo-Pacific emphasises respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

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