Centre rebuffs snubbing Canadian PM Trudeau

Wednesday, 21 Feb, 2018

"There are two paths - you can either amplify the anxiety in the world by blaming a particular ethnic or religious group for all the troubles in the society or you can take a more successful pluralistic approach, when you actually meet people with different story and believe that we meet them and grow". However, Canadian FDI into India is still less than half that figure.

Yesterday, in a possible thawing of relations, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh confirmed that he will meet the Canadian PM on February 21, when the latter visits Amritsar.

"Canada & Gujarat already have strong connections in business, innovation and friendship". Indian officials have been at pains to clarify this wasn't in any way a snub for the soft stand taken by Trudeau's Liberal Party of Canada towards Sikh radicals espousing the cause of Khalistan.

"Canada's strength is that we have recognised that diversity is strength".

The Canadian Prime Minister will hold a bilateral meeting with PM Narendra Modi on Feb 23. Kochhar said these "huge" structural reforms - including a new goods and services tax to simply the tax system, a bankruptcy court and more transparency - have had a big impact on making it easier to do business in India.

He also referred to Trudeau's apology, two years ago, in the Canadian parliament over the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, in which hundreds of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers in a ship were denied entry in to Canada and forced to return to India, where they met a violent fate.

Later this week, digital transformation company Tech Mahindra, will announce a new partnership with Canada's superclusters initiative.

Trudeau made the announcement after meetings with industry leaders including Tata group chairman N.Chandrasekaran; Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla; Mahindra group chief Anand Mahindra; Salil Parikh of Infosys, and Cyrus Mistry of the Pallonjee Mistry group, among others. Other developments such as a motion in the Ontario assembly describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as "genocide" have added to the angst in New Delhi's officialdom. That's what we are doing in Canada. Also, the cumulative India FDI into Canada is pegged at Dollars 2.2 billion for 2016, with Indian companies investing especially in the IT, software, steel and natural resources sectors. "But we do $2 billion worth trade everyday with the United States of America, so there is a lot of room to grow", he said, adding that discussion on trade of agriculture products, particularly pulses, was on between the two countries. "Someone who's tasted that will always want to come back for more". The Canadian prime minister reportedly addressed a parade at the rally that glorified Sikh militant leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amreek Singh and former General Shahbeg Singh who were killed during Operation Blue Star in 1984. According to the chamber, two-way trade between Canada and India stood at about Dollars 8 billion in 2016.

Suddenly, the controversies that surround Trudeau's visit to India - where he has been accorded just one official day for bilateral engagements in a seven-day trip - make sense.

However, he said Canadians seem increasingly aware of the rise of Asia and India's importance and the Canada brand in India is growing.