Canada Postpones Trade Mission To India Amid Strained Relations

Canada Postpones Trade Mission To India Amid Strained Relations.

Canada has announced the postponement of its upcoming trade mission to India, scheduled for October.

The decision comes against the backdrop of increasingly strained relations between the two nations.

The confirmation of the delay was made by a spokesperson for Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng on Friday.

However, no specific reason was provided for the postponement.

“At this time, we are postponing the upcoming trade mission to India,” Spokesperson Shanti Cosentino stated.

Earlier in the day, unnamed Indian officials had conveyed to reporters that negotiations regarding a trade deal had been put on hold due to objections stemming from “political developments in Canada.”

In May of this year, both Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and her Indian counterpart, Piyush Goyal, had issued a joint statement expressing their mutual desire to enhance trade and investment between their respective countries by the end of the year.

However, these trade talks have encountered numerous high-level challenges.

Most recently, during the Group of 20 (G20) summit held in New Delhi last weekend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose not to engage in a formal bilateral meeting with Canadian leader Justin Trudeau—a move that many perceived as a diplomatic snub.

Tensions between the two nations have been simmering for some time. In June, videos circulated depicting a controversial parade float in Brampton, Ontario, which revolved around the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

She was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984 after ordering military action against Sikh separatists at the Golden Temple in Punjab.

The parade float ignited anger within the Indian government, which viewed the display as a celebration of separatist violence.

In a press release issued on Sunday following Modi’s encounter with Trudeau, the Indian government reiterated its “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities” within Canada.

The release specifically cited “extremist elements” in Canada who were “inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises, and threatening the Indian community in Canada.”

It’s worth noting that since his election in 2014, Modi has faced allegations of presiding over a surge in conservative Hindu nationalism in India, while minority groups have expressed apprehensions about threats to their human rights.

Also Read: Why India’s Name Was Changed To Bharat During G20 Dinner Invitation

Canada, home to the largest Sikh population outside of Punjab, includes separatist factions advocating for an independent Sikh state called Khalistan in northern India.

Justin Trudeau has defended Canadians’ rights to “freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and freedom of peaceful protest” but also pledged to “push back” against “hatred.” Trudeau has consistently downplayed the scale of the protests, emphasizing that the actions of a few do not represent the entire community or Canada.

The ongoing controversy has cast a shadow over Indian-Canadian relations. In an unexpected move on September 1, Canada announced it would temporarily halt trade treaty negotiations—a stance echoed by Indian officials in their statements to the media on Friday.

Trade negotiations between the two countries have been on and off since 2010.

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Written by Andrew Walyaula

Multimedia Journalist

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