Canada’s foreign minister Mélanie Joly will be on an India visit in the first week of February. The visit will focus on how Ottawa-Delhi can work together, especially in the Indo-Pacific. In November last year, Canada issued its first-ever Indo-Pacific strategy that emphasised on increasing trade and people-to-people ties with India. The strategy said, “India’s strategic importance and leadership—both across the region and globally—will only increase as India—the world’s biggest democracy—becomes the most populous country in the world and continues to grow its economy.”
Under the strategy, Canada will seek to expand market access by concluding an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), bolster Canada’s visa-processing capacity in New Delhi and Chandigarh and accelerate cooperation in the fight against climate change.
EAM Jaishankar had spoken to Foreign minister Melanie in May and December and met her on the sidelines of the Commonwealth and East Asia summits last year. The focus of the meetings and conversations have been on the Indo-Pacific, and the welfare of the Indian community, among other issues. The Canadian side has been discussing issues like the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
One of the thorny issues in the ties has been the problems created by extremists in the country. In the past few months, a number of Hindu temples in Canada have been vandalised by extremists. This has also been condemned by the Indian consulate in Toronto. In a statement, the consulate said, “The hateful act of vandalism has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Indian community in Canada. We have raised our concerns on the matter with Canadian authorities.”
This is also the first visit by any Canadian foreign minister since the summoning of the-then Canadian high commissioner to India, Nadir Patel, by the Ministry of External Affairs after remarks by Canadian PM Trudeau during the farmers’ protests.
New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta will be also visiting Delhi. The visit comes, even as EAM Jaishankar visited the country last year in October and held talks with his counterpart and the then PM of the country, Jacinda Ardern. Both sides have been in touch with each other for a mobility partnership. The country hosts a large Indian community. Of the 175,000-strong Indian Diaspora about 140,000 persons are estimated to be of Indian origin, while 35,000 persons are estimated to be of Fijian Indian descent.
Source: wio news