India-Canada Ministers Hold Talks Amid Strained Relations

India-Canada Ministers Hold Talks Amid Strained Relations

In Munich, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly engaged in a direct exchange described by Joly as “an open discussion.” This marked their first formal bilateral meeting since tensions escalated following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s September statement alleging potential Indian involvement in the killing of pro-Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.

Jaishankar emphasised the focus of their conversation, highlighting discussions on the current status of bilateral relations and global dynamics, conveyed through the social media platform X. The meeting occurred on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, where both ministers were in attendance.

Joly echoed similar sentiments, emphasising talks revolving around Canada-India relations and global events, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The meeting, initiated by Canada, aimed to secure Indian cooperation in the Nijjar investigation amidst strained diplomatic ties.

In response to Trudeau’s allegations, both countries expelled senior diplomats, and India temporarily suspended visas for Canadian citizens, later reinstating them in November. Canada reciprocated by removing 41 diplomats from India, prompting what Joly characterised as a “mass expulsion” by New Delhi.

While India has initiated an inquiry into an alleged assassination plot targeting Sikhs for Justice General Counsel Gurpatwant Pannun, Nijjar’s murder remains outside the scope of the investigation. India awaits specific and relevant information from Ottawa to assist in Canada’s probe into the killing of the SFJ leader associated with the Khalistan Referendum in British Columbia.

Despite prevailing tensions, both ministers emphasised the importance of ongoing dialogue and collaboration. Their meeting signals diplomatic efforts to address contentious issues and navigate bilateral relations amidst challenges.

The encounter underscores the commitment of India and Canada to engage in constructive dialogue, seeking avenues for cooperation and resolution of outstanding issues. While challenges persist, both nations remain committed to maintaining communication and exploring opportunities for mutual understanding and collaboration in the future.


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