Forces huge contributor for India's safety: Canada's conciliatory tone ahead of Justin Trudeau's visit

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's India visit will happen very soon, Nadir Patel said. (Reuters)
As Canada finalises the dates for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's maiden India visit, it has once again stuck a conciliatory tone on the 4-month-old visa row between the two nations.

In May, Canada had denied entry to Tejinder Singh Dhillon, a retired CRPF officer. He was told by the Vancouver airport immigration authorities that he could not be granted entry into Canada since he was a part of the CRPF — a force that they said “committed widespread and systemic human rights abuses, torture, arbitrary detention, murder and sexual assault".

Dhillon was then deported back to India, causing a furore. But before the matter could erupt into a diplomatic row, the Canadian High Commission in India intervened and restored his visa allowing him to go back to Canada.

The Canadian High Commission had termed it as an incident that had “happened at the lower level” and something that “shouldn’t have happened”.

Talking about the incident exclusively to WION, Canada’s High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel said that best of friends can always talk through issues keeping bigger picture in mind.

“We did address that immediately. We feel very strongly that (armed) forces are a huge contributor to the safety and security of all residents of India including myself. We did a post-mortem and took stock of what transpired,” Patel told WION in an exclusive conversation on Thursday.

“Reality is that every relationship will have some irritants or disputes or disagreements. But best of friends can talk through those issue and keep the bigger picture in mind. That’s what Canada and India have done and that’s what we will do,” Patel added.

Asked about the discomfort in India over Canadian PM Trudeau's presence at an event that featured Khalistani flags and posters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the Canadian High Commissioner said, “We won't let the diversity and the harmony that exists in Canada be sidetracked by a few individuals who have certain views and those views are certainly not shared by the Government of Canada. And that's been made very clear. To be able to talk through these things and know that we value our relationship with India is paramount.”

Talking about PM Trudeau's impending India visit, Patel said the Canadian government was close to firming up the dates and that both PM Trudeau and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are very keen to make this happen. He added that the Trudeau’s visit to India will happen soon.

The Canadian High Commissioner further said that the relationship between India and Canada is the strongest it’s ever been and that there was a lot interaction at the top levels between both sides.

The foreign ministers of both countries are set to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week. Also, three Cabinet ministers from Canada are set to visit India in the coming weeks.

Stating that “all matrix were showing a strengthening of the relationship” Patel further underlined that trade between India and Canada had gone up by 30% in the past couple of years and that investments from Canada into India were up $15 billion during the same period.

He also underlined the fact the largest Indian diaspora community in the world on per capita basis lives in Canada, a huge 1.3 million Canadians of Indian origin.
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