The South Asian Canadian media, mainly in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, has been focusing on the international students stuck in Ukraine.
Initially, concerns were also expressed that Ukraine is proving to be tough for Russia, but for how long? NATO countries, including Canada, have decided to support Ukraine financially, providing equipment, but refused to send their personnel to fight on the war front and refused to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
However, the Punjabi media raised concerns over unlimited numbers of refugees. It was emphasized that Canada opened its doors to unlimited refugees from Ukraine while a limit was put for refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.
The expectation is that Government plans to accommodate refugees should not impact Canadians
Apna Punjab Radio, located in Brampton, held a long discussion. Host Devinder Bains said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shown generosity in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggravation. It is good to help and support other countries in crisis. He has allowed Ukrainian people to come to Canada and work temporarily and return when the situation in their country is better. Bains said that Canadians are already struggling with job opportunities, cost of living, and high prices for daily groceries. This open invitation to immigrants is not appropriate in the current situation.
Host Navraj Grewal said that there is a difference this time in Canada’s support to Ukraine. However, no one raised a finger when the American military intervened in Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, or Vietnam. Grewal said that we’re not at all favouring Russian attacks on Ukraine. Our Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is of Ukrainian origin. Canada may be showing much generosity because of that. A caller shared concerns over allowing a large number of international students in without considering the housing crisis to accommodate them. Another caller commended Trudeau for his refugee policy for Ukraine in the present crisis. However, he emphasized the need for policies to assimilate the new Ukrainians and not just accept them into Canada.
The Canadian Urdu News website highlighted how Russian forces are targeting Ukrainians’ food supply, including their stores of grain. It said that the Canadian government cautioned that consumers should expect a spike in the cost of bread and pasta following a rise in wheat prices after Russia’s invasion.
The website presented a feature focused on Canadians welcoming refugees from Ukraine. It also highlighted visa issues for Ukrainians fleeing their country to Canada and voiced the feelings of Ukrainian Canadians who are going to Ukraine to serve with their skills and abilities and generating resources from Canada to help them.
The Canadian Hindi News website reported that Chrystia Freeland announced there would be so-called collateral damage to the Canadian economy and workers as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia.
If we look at Urdu and Hindi media opinions in India and Pakistan regarding the Russia-Ukraine war and its impact, the scenario is based on political situations in the countries. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is celebrating the victory of his party in recent provincial elections. The Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost in Punjab, where people had a chance to choose another party. However, the BJP has obtained great success in four out of five states that will pave the way for him for the 2024 general elections in India. Modi is crediting this success to his policies, including remaining neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war. India has a longstanding relationship with Russia and has been enjoying its friendship and support. India is still the biggest market for Russian-made weapons, while Ukraine has been opposing India in the Security Council.
Currently, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing a vote of no confidence. America, the country on which Pakistan has long relied for its monitoring support, is no more in a mood to support Pakistan. As a result, Pakistan is exploring more avenues for financial support and looking for new friends. Imran Khan visited Moscow at a time when the world was condemning President Vladimir Putin for his attack on Ukraine.
Neither India nor Pakistan participated in voting against Russian aggravation on Ukraine at the UN. India officially remains neutral. However, their policies and lack of sanctions are aligned with Russia. And India is also concerned about the increasing closeness between China and Russia.
Blasphemy has been the most sensitive issue in Pakistan. Putin has recently said that insulting the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be upon Him) does not count as an expression of freedom. While the world was surprised at Putin’s statement, Pakistan’s Prime Minister and religious bodies hailed Putin. This way, Putin created a ground to seek support from Muslim groups who have been avoiding Moscow due to its Communism. Khan also tried to gain support in his own country, Pakistan, by praising Putin on his statement against blasphemy and visiting Russia to explore areas of mutual interests. In addition, Khan met with Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic, who is in support of Russia in its war against Ukraine.
The whole world, including Canada, is talking about sanctions on Russia and the impact on their countries. In India, the rim-axle industry is suffering severely. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India can take advantage of sanctions on Russia by exporting wheat and grain to the world.
This can be viewed as a good thing not only for India, but also for the Indian-Punjabi community in Canada because most Punjabis are associated with agriculture and farming. We have seen how Punjabi Canadians came forward in support of the farmers’ movement in India.