India, Canada FMs discuss Indo-Pacific cooperation, trade

Source: The post is based on the articleIndia, Canada FMs discuss Indo-Pacific cooperation, tradepublished in The Hindu on 7th February 2023.

What is the News?

India’s External Affairs Minister met the Canadian Foreign Minister. They discussed ways to deepen their bilateral partnership and exchanged views on the global situation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

What are the key highlights from the meeting?

Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: India welcomed the announcement of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy which calls India an important partner.

The document released contains sharp words on China’s “coercive” challenge to the international rules-based order and on human rights; in contrast it says India and Canada have a shared tradition of democracy and pluralism, a common commitment to a rules-based international system and multilateralism.

What is the key issue between India and Canada?

Khalistan issue: Khalistan referendum held in September 2022 in Canada has become a huge irritant in India-Canada relations in 2022.

India called the referendum a farcical exercise held by extremists and radical elements and asked Canada for action in this matter.

Canada said it supports India’s integrity, but it won’t stop the referendum as its citizens were free to protest.

Note: The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state called Khalistān in the Punjab Region.

What is the significance of this meeting?

2023 could become the year of the India-Canada reset given the Indo-Pacific strategy convergence, trade talks which could culminate in an EPTA [Early Progress Trade Agreement] and a number of high-level meetings this year.

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