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Business News/ Politics / Canada should shed ‘middle-power approach’ and...: Japan amid India-Canada row over Khalistan extremism
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Canada should shed ‘middle-power approach’ and...: Japan amid India-Canada row over Khalistan extremism

Canada urged to implement a ‘foreign policy reset’ and focus on Indo-Pacific diplomacy amid deteriorating relations with India. Japan Times suggested Canada should strengthen partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Singapore to avoid past mistakes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at Rajghat in New Delhi during the G20 Summit earlier this month. (AP File Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at Rajghat in New Delhi during the G20 Summit earlier this month. (AP File Photo) (HT_PRINT)

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led India government and their intelligentsia were involved in the June killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen. Nijjar, who was designated a terrorist in 2020 by India was killed outside a Gurudwara in British Columbia's Surrey in June this year. 

While the world have been patiently waiting for the outcome of this debacle that involves a developed north American nation and a rapidly developing country US looks to invest in, in order to counter the growing labour power of China and Russia, east Asian nation Japan has opined that Justin Trudeau and his Canadian government needs a ‘foreign policy reset’. 

In an article published by Japan Times, it has been reported that Ottawa needs shedding off its ‘middle-power approach’ and focusing more on ‘Indo-Pacific diplomacy’. 

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Instances of Canada's declining diplomatic popularity

Canada-China Row

The report on Japan Times took a rather empirical approach to explain that it is not the first time Canada in such acts that led to deteriorating relation between Ottawa and an Asian nation. 

Japan Times report cited a similar episode that led to a deteriorating trend in China-Canada relations. The report added that Michael Spavor, a businessman, and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, were arrested by Beijing on espionage charges. The two were arrested following the detainment of Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou in December 2018 at the request of the United States. 

This was followed by serious accusations of Chinese electoral interference and threats against Canadian lawmaker Michael Chong, the report stated, adding that this translated into record-low favorability ratings of China in Canada and an atmosphere in which discussing anything about engagement between the two nations is “radioactive".

Canada-Russia Row

Canada's relations with Russia are also no better as Ottawa continues to provide deep support for Ukraine in the ongoing conflict, the Japan Times reported.

Canada has maneuvered itself inadvertently into the position where it has alienated the first and second most populated nations on the planet and Russia, a declining but disruptive power determined, to weaken the international rules-based order that Canada relies on for its peace and prosperity, the report stated.

What's at stake for Canada if Donald Trump returns?

A major concern for Canada is the possible return of Donald Trump and his ‘America First’ policies in the US in 2024, the Japan Times reported, adding that if Trump wins the presidency, Canada could be faced with a situation in which its most important economic, security and political partner may not be aligned with its goals, the second largest economy on the planet could become alienated and a country that is critical for Canada's Indo-Pacific strategic engagement may become estranged if relations between the two countries deteriorate.

Canada should focus on Indo-Pacific diplomacy

According to the Japan Times report, Canada needs a “realistic, pragmatic, and interest-based approach" to how it's engaging in the Indo-Pacific and more broadly on the global stage. Ottawa can no longer pursue a foreign policy based on an outdated idea of a middle-power identity that is based on values-oriented diplomacy. 

Canada needs to strengthen partnerships with reliable allies and friends such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Singapore, in order to avoid mistakes of the past and to be an effective and dependable partner in the broader Indo-Pacific region, the report noted.

The main question, however, is whether or not Canada will step away from its value-laden, middle-power approach that creates challenges in terms of sustainable, meaningful and engaged diplomacy within the region or will it take on a more pragmatic and realistic interest-based approach befitting its global status, Japan Times reported.




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Updated: 24 Sep 2023, 04:02 PM IST
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