India, Canada National Security Advisers meeting ahead of Trudeau’s visit

Vastavam web: India’s concerns over rising Sikh radicalism in Canada are understood to have figured during a meeting between National Security Advisers of the two countries this week, and the issue may figure during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s talks with Indian leadership here.Trudeau is beginning a seven-day India visit here tomorrow with an aim to further boost overall bilateral ties with a focus on enhancing defence and counter-terror cooperation.Canadian diplomatic sources, while talking about the meeting held between the two NSAs here a couple of days back to prepare the ground for Trudeau’s visit, indicated that New Delhi’s concerns over Sikh radicalism in Canada figured in the meeting.

“This is an important visit. All issues, which are of interest to us…which are of bilateral interests will be up on the agenda,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, when asked whether the issue will be taken up by India during Trudeau’s visit.The negotiators of both the countries met last week to overcome the hurdles in finalising the pact, the sources said, adding Canadian investments in India were around USD 15 billion in the last couple of years, and a free trade pact will further encourage investors from that country.

In 2017, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and India amounted to USD 8.4 billion, split equally between exports to and imports from India (USD 4 billion each).A number of Trudeau’s cabinet colleagues including Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, Defence MInister Harjit Singh Sajjan, Science and Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi are also visiting India.

When referred to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh calling Canadian Defence Minister Sajjan as “Khalistani sympathiser” ahead of his visit here last year, the diplomatic sources called the remarks “disappointing and inaccurate”.”This will be an opportunity for the prime minister to promote Canada-India cooperation on a range of issues and highlight Canada’s support for a strong, united, diverse India and to further strengthen the vibrant strategic partnership,” said a Canadian diplomatic source.On February 20, he will visit Mumbai where he will hold meetings with top business leaders and meet representatives of Indian Film industry to explore various opportunities in the field of cinema.

On February 21, the Canadian PM will travel to Amritsar where he will visit the Golden Temple. He will return to Delhi the same day.Trudeau is scheduled to visit Jama Masjid and a cricket ground here on February 22 besides delivering a lecture at a gathering of Canadian and Indian business leaders.The ties between India and Canada have been on an upswing. Approximately 1.4 million Canadians are of Indian heritage and India is Canada’s second largest source of immigrants.