The eagerly anticipated Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between India and Canada have hit a roadblock,as Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng announced the postponement of her trade mission to New Delhi next month. According to a report by the news agency Reuters, a spokesperson for Minister Ng confirmed the postponement and refused to elaborate. The talks between India and Canada over the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have been put on hold amidst political reasons.The official said that there were certain political developments in Canada to which New Delhi objected. Ng was set to visit Mumbai on Oct. 9 with Canadian business leaders to form ties with their counterparts in the world’s most populous country, for a five-day trip known as a “Team Canada” trade mission.Ng’s office would not explain why the trip has been postponed nor when it is likely to occur, when asked by The Canadian Press. She was not made available for an interview.
“The moment the political issues are sorted out, the talks will resume. So, it is only a pause," the official said. Earlier, Canada made a similar announcement saying that such a pause was needed to take stock.During the G20 Summit in India's capital city New Delhi last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly snubbed his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau allowing only a short, informal meeting on the sidelines,as per media report.
During their meeting, Modi conveyed strong concerns over Sikh protests against India. Canada has the highest population of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab in India, and the country has been the site of many protests that have irked India.In a statement, the Modi government said that extremist elements in Canada "are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship.", according to report.As per reports, while Trudeau was in New Delhi for the G20 Summit, Khalistani separatists held a so-called referendum in Surrey, British Columbia.
(Ira Singh, Asstt Editor)