Canada forms advisory committee to deliberate on new Indo-Pacific strategy

Canada “recognises that the Indo-Pacific region is critically important for the long-term prosperity, health and security of Canadians”, its foreign ministry said
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) meets with US President Joe Biden during the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, on Thursday. Both the leaders also discussed about the Indo-Pacific region during the meeting. (AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) meets with US President Joe Biden during the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, on Thursday. Both the leaders also discussed about the Indo-Pacific region during the meeting. (AP)
Published on Jun 10, 2022 01:21 PM IST
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ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Amit Chanda

TORONTO: As Canada continues to work on a refreshed Indo-Pacific strategy, it has announced the formation of an advisory committee which is “tasked with providing independent perspectives and recommendations”.

The committee comprises three co-chairs, 11 members and three advisors to the co-chairs.

The co-chairs include Janice Gross Stein, a pre-eminent global affairs expert and the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Also present is Pierre Pettigrew, former Minister of Foreign Affairs. The third co-chair is Indian-origin Farah Mohamed, chief operating officer of Canada’s Forest Trust Corporation.

The members include Frank McKenna, former Canadian ambassador to the United States, and former leader of the Conservative Party Rona Ambrose. Also included is Kasi Rao, originally from India, and presently managing director of Fairfax Consulting Services India Ltd, a Canadian company focused on investment opportunities in India. Earlier, he was the president and chief executive officer of the Canada-India Business Council.

Also featuring on the list is Dominic Barton, former Canadian ambassador to China and former deputy commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Major-General (Retired) Tammy Harris.

In making the announcement of formation of the advisory committee, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said, “In the coming decades, developments in the Indo-Pacific region will have profound impacts on the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Our intention is clear: Canada is committed to strengthening our presence and deepening our partnerships throughout the Indo-Pacific region.”

A release from Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, said that Canada “recognises that the Indo-Pacific region is critically important for the long-term prosperity, health and security of Canadians”.

“We live in a world with increasing threats to global stability. For the benefit of both the people of the region and Canadians, Canada is actively investing in the Indo-Pacific region to support a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific that contributes to a rules-based international order,” it added.

The Indo-Pacific strategy has been under consideration since 2019 and the delay has faced criticism as has the reality of Canada being ignored in the formation of two recent groups focused on the region: AUKUS, the trilateral security arrangement between the US, the UK and Australia, which came into being last year, and the more recent Indo-Pacific Economic Forum for Prosperity (IPEF), formed last month, and including India, the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan, among other nations.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the region during a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden in Los Angeles on Thursday. A readout issued by the Canadian prime minister’s office stated they spoke of “their mutual commitment to enhancing collaboration on regional security and good governance in the Indo-Pacific region, and with regards to their respective relationships with China.”

Also on the agenda was Canada’s announcement in May “that it intends to implement a new telecommunications security framework, and to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE’s products and services in Canada’s 5G networks”.

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