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Canada’s Trade Minister Postpones Trade Mission to India as Tensions Rise Over Khalistan Extremism – News18

Last Updated: September 16, 2023, 06:16 IST

Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng speaks at a Lunar New Year celebration in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 31, 2023. (Reuters File Photo)

Canadian Trade Minister postpones India trade mission amid Khalistan concerns

Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng is postponing a trade mission to India planned for October amid growing tensions between the two countries over the issue of Khalistani extremism. “At this time, we are postponing the upcoming trade mission to India,” said Shanti Cosentino, a spokesperson for the minister, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

This comes days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in India for a G20 summit in New Delhi. On the sidelines of the meeting, he held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which PM Modi raised concerns about growing Khalistani extremism in Canada.

Earlier, India and Canada had aimed to seal an initial trade agreement by the end of this year. However, trade talks were paused last week. Ottawa said that such a pause was necessary to “take stock.” This pause comes as Canada has increasingly become the site of anti-India campaigns and separatist protests.

On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called the space given to Khalistani extremism in Canada a “worrisome issue”. Speaking exclusively to CNN-News18, the minister said that he had nothing to respond on the matter as Trudeau and his delegation said what they had to and the Indian side also did the same.

“The particular issue which is the space that has been given to Khalistani in Canada is a worrisome issue. This is not a new conversation this is part of an ongoing conversation,” Jaishankar said.

During a direct conversation, the Prime Minister had told Trudeau that the nexus between Khalistani separatists and organised crime and drug syndicates and human trafficking rackets should be of concern for the Canadian government. He conveyed India’s strong concerns about the continuous anti-India activities perpetrated by Khalistani separatist groups in Canada.

According to the external affairs ministry, Prime Minister Modi pointed out that in recent years Khalistani separatists have used Canadian soil to promote secessionism. He added that “India-Canada relations are anchored in shared democratic values, respect for rule of law and strong people-to-people ties”.

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