Trudeau's attitude softened after meeting PM Modi at the G7 Summit, will India-Canada relations improve now?

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi: Relations between India and Canada are not good since the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and PM Trudeau's support to Khalistanis. Both countries have expressed this on different platforms, but now it seems that the growing bitterness between the two countries may reduce. Recently, PM Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met at the G7 summit in Italy. Justin Trudeau's attitude has softened after meeting Modi. The Canadian PM has expressed his desire to work together with India on important issues.Be careful with the questions
Trudeau appeared cautious while answering questions on this after meeting Modi at the G-7 summit. When he was asked about raising the issue of Nijjar, he avoided it. Trudeau said that it is important to work with partners while maintaining the rule of law. The two leaders had a brief meeting during the G-7 summit in Italy on Friday. Modi himself posted a picture on the social media platform X in which the two leaders are talking while holding hands.

“I won't go into the details of this important, sensitive issue that we need to work on further, but there has been a commitment to work together to deal with some very important issues in the period ahead,” he said at a press conference in Italy on Saturday morning. Canada has stressed that its most important issue with India at the moment is to bring the perpetrators of the Nijjar massacre to justice.

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Canada did not provide evidence of Nijjar's murder
India has officially said that Canada has not provided any evidence or information to support its allegations that Indian agencies could investigate. This response is in stark contrast to India's response to similar allegations levelled by the US about the alleged involvement of an Indian official, who was apparently also involved in the Canadian investigation, in a failed attempt to kill another Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu on US soil. The Indian government has set up a high-level committee to investigate the US allegations, saying the information shared by the Americans could also have implications for India's security. Though India has remained tight-lipped about the findings of the investigation, the issue is expected to be discussed next week as US NSA Jake Sullivan is visiting India for talks. The US has also been pressuring India to support the Canadian investigation.

In the case of Canada, even though senior intelligence officials are in touch about the investigation, sources in the Indian government say there has been no official or formal communication from Canada on the matter, including the 4 arrests made so far. Expecting to meet Trudeau at the G7, the Indian government had said just before the summit that its main issue with Canada is the political space given to extremists.

initiatives to improve relations
In his speech at the G7, Trudeau also said that we must continue to engage with diverse partners around the world, even as we highlight the challenges we face while standing up for the rule of law. Trudeau and senior Canadian officials have stressed the importance of relations with India, including India's role in securing a free and open Indo-Pacific, but they have also stressed that their immediate priority with India is to ensure accountability for the killing of Canadian citizen Nijjar.

Though Trudeau had not responded to Modi's post on Twitter till late Saturday night, his office promptly confirmed the conversation, saying Trudeau congratulated Modi on his re-election and the leaders briefly discussed bilateral ties. “Of course there are important issues at hand between our two countries at this time. You can understand that we will not be making any further statement at this time,” the spokesperson said.

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