Canada rescheduled its trade mission to India, postponing the planned visit.
Following a temporary halt to the “Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA)” in August, the Canadian government has now indefinitely delayed a trade mission to India scheduled for October.
The five-day Team Canada trade mission was set to be led by the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, Mary Ng, starting on October 9. However, Canadian media reported on Friday that it had been postponed. The Canadian Press cited Ng’s office, which did not provide a reason for the postponement. Indian officials learned of this decision through the media.
This announcement coincided with statements from New Delhi indicating that trade discussions with Canada have been suspended until subversive activities on Canadian territory are addressed.
A senior Indian official stated, “New Delhi will not engage in trade talks with any country that allows subversive activities against India or its people,” as reported by the Hindustan Times.
The trade mission had been announced during a bilateral visit to Canada by India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, in May of this year.
This postponement is the latest development in the strained relationship between the two countries due to pro-Khalistan activities in Canada. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed India’s “strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada” during a meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, in Delhi on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit. Shortly thereafter, the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice hastily organised the so-called Khalistan Referendum at a gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia, and announced another round of voting on October 29 in the same town.
In response to the news of the trade mission’s postponement, Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, commented, “Canada and India share a deeply rooted and mutually beneficial economic partnership with a strong history and a bright future. We expect this relationship to continue irrespective of political tensions that may occur from time to time.