India and Canada are currently experiencing a tense relationship, with Canada postponing the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India. During the G-20 summit, Prime Minister Modi held bilateral meetings with 15 leaders, but Trudeau’s name was not included in the meeting. Both leaders appeared uncomfortable during the welcome and did not attend the dinner organized by President Draupadi Murmu.
Trudeau’s plane had a technical glitch, and he stayed in India for two days before returning to Canada. In the meeting, Modi raised concerns about the separatist Khalistani movement, to which Trudeau responded by supporting freedom of expression and opposing violence. However, anti-India and pro-Khalistan incidents have increased in Canada, with incidents such as a tableau of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the hoisted Khalistan flag, attacks on Hindu temples, and anti-India slogans. India has expressed strong objections to these activities and claims that the Canadian government is adopting a soft stance.
India and Canada have been trading extensively, with India trading worth Rs 678 billion in FY 2023, and Canada being India’s 35th largest trading partner. India has diplomatic relations with Canada since 1947, with an Indian High Commission in Ottawa and a Consulate General in Toronto, Vancouver. Canada has a High Commission in Delhi and a Consulate General in Chandigarh, Chennai, and Mumbai. There is a strategic partnership between the two at the ministerial level on issues like foreign policy, trade, investment, finance, and energy.
Canada has 24 lakh people of Indian origin, with 7 lakh Sikhs, whom Trudeau’s party sees as a big vote bank. Media reports suggest that minorities will constitute 33 per cent of Canada’s total population by 2036. Trudeau does not want to lose the Sikh and minority vote bank by taking action against Khalistan supporters.