The Canadian government will not recognise the “Khalistan referendum” slated to be held in the country later this week, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

The first part of the referendum was held in the city of Brampton on September 19. The second part is slated to be held on November 6. The referendum has been organised by the banned group Sikhs for Justice which aims to create a country for Sikhs by seceding from India.

“The government of Canada has conveyed that they respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, and they will not recognise the so-called referendum,” foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

Bagchi, however, added that New Delhi “finds it deeply objectionable that politically-motivated exercises by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country”. He said that the government will continue to urge Canada to “prevent anti-India individuals and groups based in their country”.

The spokesperson said that the government will continue to urge Ottawa to list individuals and entities who have been designated as terrorists under Indian law as terrorists under Canadian law as well.

On Wednesday, High Commissioner of Canada to India Cameron McKay said in an interview to The Print that such referendums are considered as private activities under the country’s law. He added that as per Canadian law, citizens have the freedom of assembly and the freedom of expression.

McKay, however, added that the Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strongly believes in and stands for a united India.

On September 23, India had advised its citizens living in Canada and those travelling to the country to remain vigilant against what the foreign ministry described as a “sharp increase in hate crimes and anti-India activities”.

The government also urged citizens to exercise caution in Canada.

“Indian nationals and students from India in Canada may also register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their respective websites, or the MADAD portal,” the advisory said.