By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng is postponing a trade mission to India planned for October, an official said on Friday, reflecting increasingly tense diplomatic relations just days after India’s prime minister scolded his Canadian counterpart at a G20 summit in New Delhi.
“At this time, we are postponing the upcoming trade mission to India,” said Shanti Cosentino, a spokesperson for the minister, without giving a reason.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held formal bilateral meetings with many world leaders during the G20 summit, snubbed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, allowing only a short, informal meeting on the sidelines five days ago.
Canada has the highest population of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab in India, and the country has been the site of many protests that have irked India.
“They are promoting secessionism and inciting violence against Indian diplomats, damaging diplomatic premises and threatening the Indian community in Canada and their places of worship,” India’s government said after the leaders met.
Earlier on Friday, India said it had paused trade talks with Canada. Canada made a similar announcement earlier this month, saying such a pause was needed to “take stock”.
Only about four months ago the two nations said they aimed to seal an initial trade agreement this year.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)