India has recently demanded that Canada significantly reduce its diplomatic staff in the country, marking a continued deterioration of bilateral relations. The rift between the two nations has grown following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s public insinuation that Indian agents may have been involved in the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had been deemed a “terrorist” by the Indian government three years prior, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen outside a Sikh temple in a Vancouver suburb on June 18. Since then, the diplomatic ties between India and Canada have become increasingly strained.
Here’s an overview of the key diplomatic and trade actions taken by both nations thus far:
– Canada unexpectedly halted talks on a proposed trade treaty with India on September 1. This decision came approximately three months after both countries expressed their intentions to finalize an initial agreement this year.
– During a G20 summit in New Delhi on September 10, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns about Sikh separatist protests in Canada to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
– Subsequently, Canada postponed a trade mission to India, which was originally scheduled for October and to be led by Trade Minister Mary Ng. Canadian sources have indicated that this decision was influenced by the controversy surrounding the assassination.
– On September 18, Trudeau stated in parliament that Canada was actively investigating credible allegations linking Indian government agents to Nijjar’s murder. Nijjar was a Canadian citizen and an advocate for the creation of an independent Sikh homeland within India.
– India promptly dismissed Trudeau’s assertion as “absurd” on September 19. As a result, both countries engaged in a tit-for-tat exchange, expelling a diplomat from each other’s nations.
– In response to the situation, India issued a cautionary statement to its citizens in Canada on September 20, urging them to exercise vigilance. The U.S., Australia, and Britain have also expressed concerns about the escalating tensions.
– Indian steel company JSW Steel Ltd subsequently slowed down its process of purchasing a stake in the steelmaking coal unit of Canada’s Teck Resources, as reported by Reuters on September 21.
– On September 22, India announced the suspension of the issuance of new visas for Canadian citizens and requested that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence within India.
– Despite the strained relations, Indian Potash, a fertilizer importer, does not anticipate any disruptions in supplies of Canadian potash and hopes to extend its contract with Canadian supplier Canpotex beyond September.
– However, there has been a noticeable slowdown in Canadian lentil sales to India since the tensions escalated. Canada is a significant source of lentil imports for India, an essential protein-rich staple.
– Indian steel exports to Canada, according to India’s steel secretary, have remained unaffected by the diplomatic row, stressing that the volume of such exports is minimal.
Although the ongoing friction between India and Canada has led to several repercussions, it remains to be seen whether these strained relations will have a long-lasting impact on their diplomatic, economic, and trade ties.
Q: What prompted India to ask Canada to reduce its diplomatic staff?
A: India made this demand following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s public insinuation that Indian agents may have been involved in the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada.
Q: Who was Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and what was his significance?
A: Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a Sikh separatist leader who was designated as a “terrorist” by the Indian government three years prior to his assassination in a Vancouver suburb on June 18.
Q: How has the controversy affected trade relations between India and Canada?
A: Canada unexpectedly halted talks on a proposed trade treaty with India, postponed a trade mission to India, and faced a slowdown in key exports such as lentils to India.
Q: Has the diplomatic row impacted visa issuance and diplomatic presence between the two countries?
A: Yes, India suspended the issuance of new visas for Canadians and requested that Canada reduce its diplomatic presence within India.
Q: What is the current status of India’s steel exports to Canada?
A: According to India’s steel secretary, exports of steel to Canada have not been significantly affected and remain at a marginal level.