Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks past India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, as they take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Raj Ghat (File photo) (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

Former US official compares Canada with ‘ant’ and India with ‘elephant’

Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin says that if the US has to choose between Canada and India, it will choose India as the relationship is 'too important'

Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin on Saturday said that if the US has to choose between Canada and India, it will choose India as the relationship is “too important.” He argues that India is strategically more important than Canada and that Ottawa picking a fight with India is like “an ant picking a fight against an elephant.” Rubin also suggests that Justin Trudeau’s poor approval ratings indicate that he may not be in power for long, and the US can rebuild the relationship with Canada 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 told ANI news agency.

“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 out-rightly denied such allegations calling them ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’.

Notably, the Canadian PM has failed to present any evidence to back his claims.

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.

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.