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Modi and Trudeau talk security & trade in first bilateral meeting since 2018 debacle

Modi met Canadian counterpart Trudeau on sidelines of G7 Summit in Germany. The Khalistan issue, a major irritant in ties, was discussed under the larger umbrella of counterterrorism. 

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau met in Germany Monday — their first full-fledged bilateral meeting since February 2018.
The two held talks focusing on the enhancement of security cooperation between the two countries.
The Khalistan issue, which continues to remain an irritant in the relationship, was discussed between the two sides under the larger umbrella of counterterrorism, with talks also held on the decision to expedite the dialogue for a free trade pact that has been pending since 2008.
The prime ministers met late Monday on the sidelines of the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau in Germany.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), “as leaders of robust democracies with shared values”, Modi and Trudeau had a “productive meeting in which they discussed India-Canada bilateral relations and agreed to further strengthen trade and economic linkages, cooperation in security and counterterrorism, as well as people-to-people ties”.

“They also exchanged views on global and regional issues of mutual interest,” the statement added.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said: “Prime Minister in his discussions with the Prime Minister of Canada, the areas which I mentioned to you covered, essentially trade and investment linkages, security and counterterrorism cooperation and promotion of people-to-people ties.”

In response to a query on the Khalistan issue, Kwatra added: “The prime minister made it very clear to the prime minister of Canada but also to other leaders that one of the major global challenges that all of us face is the challenge of terrorism and that is something on which India has consistently adopted and advocated zero tolerance.

“The prime minister made that point very clear in his bilateral interactions with all the leaders wherever it came up, including of course with the prime minister of Canada also.”

Khalistan has always been a major issue in bilateral ties. A major controversy erupted in February 2018 — Trudeau’s last visit to India — when a Khalistani separatist was seen attending an event of the Canadian Prime Minister in Mumbai.

Following that incident, Trudeau had called his visit to India “the trip to end all trips”.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2020, when at the peak of the farmers’ protest across India, Prime Minister Trudeau voiced his concerns about the “situation”, irking the Modi government. The Modi government had called the move “unacceptable interference” and even summoned the then Canadian High Commissioner to India, Nadir Patel.

However, a thaw came in 2021 when Canada sought vaccines from India, for which Trudeau called Modi.


Also Read: Behind Golden Temple memorial to Khalistan terrorists, a bigger social-media war


India, Canada to align strategically

Prior to the meeting between the two prime ministers in Germany, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly in Kigali, Rwanda, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on 23 June, where both decided to “work more closely to advance” the bilateral relationship.

Both sides also discussed ways to align more closely strategically under the Indo-Pacific framework.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)


Also Read: ‘Khalistan’ rears its head in Himachal after threat by banned outfit Sikhs for Justice


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