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Business News/ News / India/  India-Canada Dispute: Expert warns both nations of potential losses
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India-Canada Dispute: Expert warns both nations of potential losses

Ottawa's dispute with New Delhi over the killing of a terrorist could harm trade and Indo-Pacific relations, says expert.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon his arrival at Bharat Mandapam convention center for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI)Premium
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon his arrival at Bharat Mandapam convention center for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI)

The ongoing dispute between Ottawa and New Delhi concerning the killing of Khalistani terrorist could have negative repercussions for Ottawa in terms of trade and its inclusion in Indo-Pacific institutions, according to an expert.

As reported by PTI, India's standing as a democratic nation committed to adhering to a rules-based global order could face damage in light of a recent diplomatic dispute. This disagreement flared up between India and Canada when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made accusations of potential Indian involvement in the death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and Khalistani terrorist, which occurred in British Columbia on June 18.

India has dismissed the accusations as "absurd" and "motivated." In response to Ottawa's expulsion of an Indian official related to the case, India has reciprocated by expelling a senior Canadian diplomat.

Also Read: Billions at stake: India-Canada economic ties have been flourishing; then, Justin Trudeau accused New Delhi of murder

In a blog posted by the Wilson Institute on Friday, Canada Institute Associate Xavier Delgado said, "Trade will likely be the first major casualty of the fallout, with negotiations for the EPTA (Early Progress Trade Agreement) being put on hold."

"Both countries declared that they would pause trade talks with each other earlier this month and Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng has indefinitely postponed a trade mission to New Delhi that had been planned for October," he wrote.

The negotiations were a notable part of Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy, which listed the EPTA as a critical step towards a larger comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) that would bolster trade ties between the two countries, he said.

Also Read: India-Canada News Highlights: India desists issuing new visas for Canadians

The halted trade negotiations have created tension in a bilateral trade partnership worth $17 billion. From 2012 to 2022, Canada's merchandise trade with India witnessed substantial growth, with Canadian energy products exports and Indian consumer goods imports seeing significant increases. Delgado reported these developments, as reported by PTI.

"A reduction in the flow of Indian immigrants, which constitute almost one in five of all recent immigrants to Canada, could be even more devastating than a deterioration of trade relations," he said.

Canada has recently achieved a population milestone of 40 million people due to a surge in inbound migration following the COVID-19 pandemic. The country's rapid population growth, the most rapid among G7 nations, is primarily propelled by immigration.

"A chilling of relations with India could hinder Canada's ability to join the network of Indo-Pacific institutions, both because regional allies will be wary of angering the Modi government and because India itself could block Canadian membership in certain groups. Ottawa is clearly aware of India's influence and power in the region," Delgado said.

Also Read: India-Canada row: Hardeep Singh Nijjar 'faked' marriage to get Canada citizenship in 1997, says report

However, Canada is not the only party that stands to lose from this dispute, he said.

"The allegations can damage India's public image as a democratic nation committed to a rules-based order or, more critically, its perception as a trustworthy ally in the competition against China.

"Canada's Five Eyes partners could re-evaluate intelligence sharing and law enforcement cooperation with India if Canadian officials uncover definitive proof of India's involvement in Nijjar's murder," he said.

Although Canada has not presented any public evidence to support its assertions, a report from the media, citing sources within the Canadian government, stated that Ottawa's claims rely on a combination of human intelligence, signals intelligence, and information provided by an ally within the Five Eyes intelligence network.

Also Read: What is 'Five Eyes Intelligence' that is backing probe in Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's murder

The Five Eyes network is an intelligence alliance comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Prime Minister Trudeau on Thursday said Canada is not looking to "provoke or cause problems" with India as he urged New Delhi to take the matter "extremely seriously" and work with Ottawa to "uncover the truth".

India-Canada relations have faced growing tension over the past few months due to the heightened presence of pro-Khalistani groups in North America. India perceives that the Trudeau administration is not adequately addressing its legitimate concerns in this matter.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated: 23 Sep 2023, 07:17 AM IST
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