Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng has decided to delay a scheduled trade mission to India in October, as confirmed by an official on Friday. This decision comes amidst growing diplomatic tensions, particularly following the bilateral meetings between both countries at the G20 summit in New Delhi.
“At this time, we are postponing the upcoming trade mission to India,” said Shanti Cosentino, a spokesperson for the minister, without giving a reason. It is pertinent to note that earlier on Friday, Union Minister Piyush Goyal in an interview mentioned that India has paused trade talks with Canada. He stated that this pause was necessary to take stock whether both countries are aligned geopolitically and economically and are on the same page.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who engaged in formal bilateral meetings with numerous world leaders during the G20 summit, had only a brief encounter with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on the sidelines just five days ago.
According to the PMO statement, PM Modi emphasized that the foundation of India-Canada relations rests upon shared democratic values, a commitment to the rule of law, and robust people-to-people connections. He expressed significant apprehensions regarding the persistent activities of extremist elements in Canada that are aimed against India. These activities include promoting separatism, inciting violence against Indian diplomats, causing damage to diplomatic facilities, and posing threats to the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship.
Additionally, he pointed out the worrisome connections between such elements and organized crime, drug networks, and human trafficking, which should be a matter of concern for Canada as well. In addressing these threats, PM Modi stressed the importance of effective collaboration between both nations, emphasizing that a relationship built on mutual respect and trust is essential for the advancement of India-Canada relations.
Notably, when asked about Khalistan extremism and foreign interference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remarked during a press conference that Canada will unwaveringly support the freedom of peaceful protest, expression, and conscience, while also steadfastly opposing violence and combating hatred.
“I think on the issue of the community, it is important to remember that the actions of the few do not represent the entire community or Canada. The flip side of it, we also highlighted the importance of respecting the rule of law and we did talk about foreign interference,” PM Trudeau added.