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Justin Trudeau’s India visit  

 

The visit of the Canadian premier Justin Trudeau is seen by many political observers as a disaster. Prime Minister Modi did not accord Trudeau the cordiality that he had given other heads of state and in fact this visit was seen as a snub by the Indian Prime Minister. The media covered Trudeau’s visit extensively and kept reminding readers and television audiences that Trudeau was yet to experience the famous Modi hug that others like Benjamin Netanyahu the Isreali Premier had. Trudeau’s visit was rather controversial because of Canada’s soft stance towards the sympathizers of the Khaslistani movement. Trudeau’s dinner invite to a person known to be close to the Khalistani movement was a diplomatic faux pas. This visit has left a ‘bad taste in the mouth’ in India, and has drawn much flak back home for the Canadian Prime Minister.

 

The Government of India had invited Trudeau to deepen India-Canada relations, and to  give a boost to Indo-Canadian trade transactions. This was in line with Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign aimed at luring foreign investments to make India a ‘manufacturing hub’ of the world. Trade between Indian and Canada is in the range of Canadian dollars $ 5 billion in 2015 whereas Canadian trade with China was in the range of $ 56 billion Canadian dollars. This shows that China is way ahead of India in terms of global trade with Canada.

 

Interestingly both India and Canada are negotiating for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since 2010. Several rounds of consultations have carried on till date to wrap up the agreement and Canada has been pushing for the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) to push up investments in India. But the support of the Canadian Government to Sikh radicals residing in Canada has made it difficult for India to sign this agreement.  

 

While Trudeau seemed to have struck a chord with non-governmental institutions that engaged with the Canadian premier, the question is whether that is enough and whether the visit has been able to make any headway with the Indian Government.   

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