New Delhi: Amid strained diplomatic ties between Canada and India, Canada has decided to indefinitely postpone the visit of its trade mission to India, which was supposed to begin on October 9.
“At this time, we are postponing the upcoming trade mission to India,” said Shanti Cosentino, a spokesperson for the Canadian minister who was to head the delegation, according to Reuters. No reason has been cited for such postponement by Canadian trade minister Mary Ng’s office.
While the Canadian authorities have not cited any reason officially, it is largely understood that it is due to the souring of ties between the two countries after India’s critical remarks against Canada for not being able to arrest the increasing activities of the secessionist Khalistani movement in Canada.
In fact, it was widely reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conveyed “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau when they met on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit in Delhi last week.
The postponement of the trade mission by Canada comes after it had in August placed a “pause” on the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA). The five-day Team Canada trade mission was to be led by Mary Ng, who is the minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development. The visit of the Canadian trade mission to India was announced when Union commerce and industry minister, Piyush Goyal, was in Canada for a bilateral visit in May this year.
The two countries first launched negotiations for a trade deal 13 years ago in 2010, but there had been limited progress until 2022 when negotiations began on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.