Return of Modi govt is an opportunity to engage with India on ‘big’ issues: Canada PM | World News - Hindustan Times
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Return of Modi govt is an opportunity to engage with India on ‘big’ issues: Canada PM

Jun 18, 2024 02:22 PM IST

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi met during the recently concluded G7 leaders’ summit in Italy, where India was invited as an outreach partner

Toronto:Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the re-election of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi provides an “opportunity” for them to “engage” on several “very serious” and “big” issues.

Canada's Prime minister Justin Trudeau attends a plenary session during the Summit on peace in Ukraine, at the Burgenstock resort, near Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday. (AFP)
Canada's Prime minister Justin Trudeau attends a plenary session during the Summit on peace in Ukraine, at the Burgenstock resort, near Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday. (AFP)

Appearing in an interview with the outlet CBC News on the eve of the anniversary of the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Trudeau said, “Now that he’s through his election, I think there is an opportunity for us to engage, including on some very serious issues around national security and keeping Canadians safe and the rule of law.”

Trudeau and Modi met during the recently concluded G7 leaders’ summit in Italy, where India was invited as an outreach partner.

“I think one of the really good things about summits is you get an opportunity to engage directly with a huge range of different leaders with whom there are various issues,” Trudeau said in that context.

“And, certainly, with India, there are massive people-to-people ties, there are really important economic ties, there’s alignment on a number of big issues that we need to work on as democracies, as a global community,” he added.

The meeting on the margins of the G7 summit was the first between the two leaders since Trudeau stated in the House of Commons on September 18 last year there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the murder, which took place in Surrey, British Columbia, three months earlier.

While Nijjar was considered a terrorist by India, no charges were filed against him nor were any of the allegations tested in a Canadian court.

The softer tone from the Canadian PM was similar to that he adopted when asked about the meeting during a press conference in Italy on Friday. He had said at the time, “I’m not going to get into the details of this important, sensitive issue that we need to follow up, but this was a commitment to work together, in the coming times, to deal with some very important issues.”

He did not, however, reveal whether the Nijjar matter or the issue of alleged foreign interference by India in Canada, were raised. “We need to continue to engage with various partners around the world, with various partners, even as we highlight challenges as we stand up for the rule of law,” he added.

The Canadian prime minister’s office (PMO) had extended greetings to Modi after he was re-elected to head the government in New Delhi earlier this month.

The last time they had met in person was at the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi in September last year. It later emerged that Trudeau had raised the issue of Nijjar’s murder during that exchange. At the time, his PMO had said Trudeau “raised the importance of respecting the rule of law, democratic principles, and national sovereignty”.

A statement from India’s External Affairs Ministry at the time stated that “mutual respect and trust” were essential for the progress of the relationship, while stressing on New Delhi’s “strong concerns about continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada”.

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