Publish: 17 Sep 2023, 10:55 am
Amid tensions with the Trudeau government over inaction against Khalistan supporters, India and Canada have "paused" trade talks due to "certain political developments", a top official said on Friday.
While officials suggested that too much should not be read into the development, it was quite clear that the government is not impressed with the way Canada has repeatedly ignored India's concerns, preferring to make domestic politics paramount.
Earlier this month, Canada announced that it had paused the negotiations for the agreement, without assigning any reason. "India has shown a strong resentment against certain political developments in Canada, and therefore, for the time being, till these political issues are settled, we have paused the negotiations," the official said.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's stance resulted in the Modi government giving him a cold shoulder during his recent visit to the G20 Summit in Delhi, where he was stranded as his 30-year-old plane developed problems and the replacement aircraft developed a snag.
India and Canada were discussing an early harvest scheme or a preliminary free trade agreement to push bilateral trade with New Delhi interested in securing an easier visa regime for students and professionals.
On September 10, PM Narendra Modi conveyed India's strong concerns about anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats, and threatening the Indian community there.
Over half a dozen rounds of talks have been held between the countries on the trade pact so far. A trade agreement with Canada was among the high-priority deals that India is negotiating, including with countries such as the UK and European Union with a full treaty with Australia and the Gulf Cooperation Council also in the pipeline._TOI
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