Canada trade minister postpones India visit in October; bilateral ties hit new low?
The developments come less than a week after Indian PM Narendra Modi reportedly rebuked his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau over growing anti-India activities in the North American country.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau (L) speaks next to his international trade Minister Mary Ng at a press conference during a stopover visit to Singapore on September 8, 2023. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
CANADIAN trade minister Mary Ng has postponed her mission to India that was planned next month, official sources said last week, adding fuel to the speculation that diplomatic relations between the two countries are far from their best, Reuters reported.
The development comes less than a week after prime minister Narendra Modi reportedly rebuked his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau over growing anti-India activities in the North American country at the G20 summit in New Delhi. Trudeau was also absent at some key developments that included a number of western nations at the mega event.
The Canadian side has also accused India of interfering in its internal affairs.
Shanti Cosentino, a spokesperson for Ng, confirmed that the minister’s visit was postponed but stopped short of citing any reason.
Modi, who held bilateral meetings with many top world leaders on the sidelines of the summit, reportedly snubbed Trudeau and had a brief, informal talk with him during the summit. The alleged ‘disrespect’ of Trudeau also earned him a backlash at home where the media and opposition reacted.
Canada has the largest population of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab in India, and the country has seen many protests that have irked India.
In June, an event where the assassination of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards was ‘celebrated’ particularly enraged India and the latter’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had remarked that such incidents would affect the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“They are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship,” India’s government said after the leaders’ meet.
Earlier on Friday, New Delhi said it had paused trade talks with Ottawa.
Canada made a similar announcement earlier this month, saying such a pause was needed to “take stock”.
It was only about four months ago the two nations said they wanted to seal an initial trade agreement this year.