National security advisers of India and Canada met here this week, ahead of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s seven-day visit to India from tomorrow aimed at intensifying defence and counter-terror cooperation besides expanding trade and investment ties. In their meeting a couple of days ago, the two NSAs prepared the ground for Trudeau and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expand the defence and security ties. India’s concern over rising Sikh radicalism in certain parts of Canada may have been discussed, Canadian diplomatic sources indicated.
On the long-pending Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries, the sources said Canadian investments in India were likely to decline in absence of a mechanism to protect them. The negotiators of both the countries met last week to remove the hurdles and move forward, the sources said, adding the issue may figure in talks between Modi and Trudeau, who will be on his first visit to India as prime minister. They said Canadian investments in India were around $15 billion in the last couple of years, and a free trade pact will further encourage the investors from that country.
A number of Canadian pension funds are also keen to invest in India. The sources said the objective of the Canadian prime minister’s visit here would be to expand the overall ties between the two countries with a focus on defence and security, counter-terror cooperation, trade and investment and tackling climate change. Both sides are also expected to deliberate on enhancing cooperation in civil nuclear sector.
Trudeau and Modi will hold wide-ranging talks on February 23 here. Besides his engagements in Delhi, Trudeau will visit Agra, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Amritsar. A number of key ministers in Trudeau’s Cabinet including the defence minister, foreign minister, sports minister and trade minister will be part of his delegation. Officials said his visit to Gujarat will be first by a Canadian prime minister. “This will be an opportunity for the PM to promote Canada- India cooperation on a range of issues and highlight Canada’s support for a strong, united, diverse India and to further strengthen the vibrant strategic partnership,” said a Canadian diplomatic source.
Trudeau, who will be accompanied by his wife and three children, is schedule to visit Taj Mahal on February 18, and next day he will travel to Ahmedabad where he will visit Sabarmati Ashram. He will visit Akshardham temple in Gandhi Nagar and participate at an event at IIM-Ahmedabad. On February 20, he will visit Mumbai where he will hold meetings with top business leaders and meet representatives of Indian Film industry to explore various opportunities in the field of cinema.
On February 21, the Canadian PM will travel to Amritsar where he will visit the Golden Temple. He will return to Delhi the same day. Trudeau is scheduled to visit Jama Masjid and a cricket ground here on February 22 besides delivering a lecture at a gathering of Canadian and Indian business leaders. He will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Modi on February 23. The next day, he is scheduled to address a conference of young change-makers before wrapping up his visit.