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Canada puts off trade mission to India amid strain in relations

Canada puts off trade mission to India amid strain in relations


Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, September 16

Canada has announced the postponement of its trade mission to India in October. A spokesperson for Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng confirmed the calling off of the trip but gave no reasons.

Ottawa’s inaction against separatists

  • Sources indicate Ottawa’s inaction on threats to Indian diplomats and aggressiveness on display during Khalistani parades haven’t gone down well with the Government of India
  • At the G20 summit, Justin Trudeau was the only leader with whom PM held a “pull aside” or a casual meeting, which was interpreted as Indian displeasure towards the inaction

Sources here say the talks on a Canada-India Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) as a precursor to a FTA have been put on hold due to political issues. They declined to give reasons but other sources have indicated that the main reasons are Ottawa’s inaction on threats to Indian diplomats — two of whom were posted out of the country as a result — and the obnoxiousness and aggressiveness on display during Khalistani parades.

BJYM removes Canadian singer’s posters

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) on Saturday removed posters of the upcoming event of Canadian singer Shubh, alleging he supported the Khalistan movement through social media. It said there was no place for 'Khalistan' supporters in Bharat.

The postponement reverses the gradual warming of ties since December last year when India had restored the e-visa facility for Canadian passport holders. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie also had in-person meetings with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at least thrice besides two telephonic conversations. Canada’s recently-announced Indo-Pacific strategy also

noted that India provides “strategic importance and leadership — both across the region and globally.”

In May, Ng and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal issued a joint statement hoping to take measures to step up trade and investment tie by the year-end. However in June, Ottawa allowed a parade in Brampton, Ontario, that showed a tasteless float of former PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

At the G20 summit, PM Narendra Modi had at over a dozen structured bilaterals with other world leaders but Trudeau was the only leader with whom he held a “pull aside” or a casual meeting. This was interpreted as Indian displeasure towards continuing Khalistani activities with the MEA stating after the meeting that South Block had reiterated its “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities”, including “inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises, and threatening the Indian community in Canada”.

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