India and Canada are in for a major upgrade in bilateral ties with a strategic dialogue between the two countries scheduled to be held later this year.
The proposed dialogue process is expected to take place this autumn and while a final schedule is yet to be fixed, it is likely to be in September.
The initiative for the dialogue came from Canada's minister for foreign affairs John Baird and was discussed when he met external affairs minister SM Krishna over dinner in Toronto recently.In a statement, Claude Rochon, Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson in Ottawa, said, in an email, "Minister Baird is looking forward to taking our bilateral relationship to new heights specifically on strategic issues of mutual interest."
The dialogue could be multi-sectoral, along the lines of the US-India strategic dialogue, though those details are being worked out.
The agenda for the meeting is yet to be finalised but is expected to include issues such as "international and regional security, crime and terrorism, non-proliferation and co-operation on global issues within the multilateral context."
Rochon said, "Through this process, Canada expects to discuss regional and global issues with India, with an objective of sharing views, strengthening understanding of respective positions and identifying means for furthering effective collaboration."
Among the strategic issues that could well figure in the talks are those involving the AfPak theatre and terrorism.
Canada has been one of the major countries in the United States-led ISAF in Afghanistan and also looks favourably upon the larger role India has assumed in that country, as the spokesperson pointed out, "Canada sees India as a committed partner of Afghanistan and the international community in our common effort to achieve greater regional stability and prosperity."
Terrorism could be another significant component of the dialogue.