Although there have been recent speculations about the resumption of trade talks between India and Canada, a senior Canadian minister contradicted these rumours on Thursday.
The minister, Mary Ng, who oversees Export Promotion, International Trade, and Economic Development, emphasised that the current priority for the Canadian government is to involve India in the investigation of the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen.
Ng stated during a media interaction at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in San Francisco that the country’s primary focus is to allow the investigative process to unfold, as per Hindustan Times report.
Ng responded to inquiries about the possibility of resuming trade talks by highlighting the importance of completing the investigation into the Canadian citizen’s death on Canadian soil. She emphasised, “Our focus is, of course, on this investigation; that work has to take place.”
In a separate media session in Toronto, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa, Sanjay Kumar Verma, mentioned that if Canada decides to restart discussions, it could take a few months to finalise the negotiations of the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), reported English Jagran.
The EPTA, originally designed as an interim agreement leading to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), had undergone ten rounds of negotiations before being paused. Verma expressed uncertainty about predicting a specific timeline for the dialogue to resume.
It’s noteworthy that Canada had temporarily shelved the EPTA with India after serious allegations were made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Canadian Parliament
Trudeau accused Indian agents of involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, described by Canada as a ‘peaceful leader’.