India, Canada ties to get a boost with G20 visits | World News - Hindustan Times
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India, Canada ties to get a boost with G20 visits

Dec 18, 2022 04:33 PM IST

The first significant visitor to India will be Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly, who is expected in India in March 2023

The bilateral relationship between India and Canada could get a major boost next year, with as many as eight Canadian cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expected to visit to participate in G20 events.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Liberal national caucus holiday party in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (REUTERS)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Liberal national caucus holiday party in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (REUTERS)

The first significant visitor to India will be Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly, who is expected in India in March 2023 and is likely to have a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. The two ministers spoke last week and a senior Canadian official said, “The call was positive and ministers look forward to seeing each other early in 2023.”

Joly may also participate in the Raisina Dialogue, organised by the Observe Research Foundation (ORF), with support from the Ministry of External Affairs. Another cabinet minister who may be at that multilateral conference will be Canada’s minister of national defence Anita Anand. While there is no defence-related vertical at the G20, Anand, who is of Indian-origin, is also expected to arrive in March.

Several other cabinet ministers will travel to India in the months leading up to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, which will witness Trudeau’s return to India for the first time since February 2018.

Canada’s high commissioner to New Delhi Cameron Mackay, who is currently in Ottawa, tweeted after a meeting with Joly that they had a “great discussion” including on how to “deepen relations.”

“2023 will be a great year,” he added.

That optimism is shared by others familiar with the India-Canada corridor. Former Indian high commissioner to Ottawa Ajay Bisaria said, “2023 should be the year of an important reset in the Indo-Canadian strategic partnership. It should see a stronger geopolitical and geoeconomic alignment.”

Bisaria felt that with Trudeau and eight Cabinet Ministers scheduled to visit India “bilateral initiatives should be pushed forward particularly on economic, energy, technology, climate and defence issues. We should also be able to address irritants and iron out wrinkles in mobility and security. India’s instinct will be to creatively address bilateral issues even as it builds consensus on global issues as G20 chair.”

The major issue that will need to be overcome will be that of Canadian territory allegedly being utilised by pro-Khalistan elements, including the separatist Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which has already held voting twice in the country for its so-called Punjab Referendum.

But both India and Canada are increasingly willing to look beyond that issue, a senior Indian official said, so as to establish closer ties, particularly focused on formalising an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) next year.

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