Canada’s Trade Minister, Mary Ng, stated at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that Canada won’t resume trade talks with India until there is cooperation in the investigation of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s murder in Vancouver last June. Ng emphasized the importance of allowing the investigation to proceed, stating it is crucial given the incident occurred on Canadian soil.
While denying a direct link between the murder investigation and trade talks, Ng reassured Canadian businesses operating in India, stating that her focus is on providing the necessary support for them. She clarified that the Canadian government’s services will continue for businesses investing and operating in India.
In September, Canada’s High Commissioner to India revealed that trade talks had been paused without a complete explanation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later accused the Indian government of involvement in Nijjar’s murder, leading to diplomatic tensions. Canada’s national security adviser reportedly presented evidence to Indian officials, prompting India to reject the allegations as “absurd” and threaten the revocation of diplomatic immunity for some Canadian diplomats.
Canada’s ambassador to Japan, Ian McKay, suggested that trade talks might resume once the Nijjar investigation concludes. He emphasized the need to focus on a substantial free trade deal with India, a significant trade partner for Canada.
International allies, including the U.S. and the U.K., have urged India to cooperate with Canada in the ongoing criminal investigation. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated this call during a meeting with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi. Despite the diplomatic strain, both nations expressed a desire to resolve differences and disputes.
With Canada’s stance linking trade talks to the progress of the murder investigation, the situation remains tense, emphasizing the delicate balance between diplomatic relations and justice for a Canadian killed abroad. The future of trade negotiations between the two nations hinges on the resolution of this high-profile case.
WRITTEN BY – ASTHA DUBEY, LLOYD LAW COLLEGE, GREATER NOIDA, UP, A 1st SEMESTER LEGAL JOURNALISM INTERN AT LEGAL VIDHIYA
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