India and Canada must work together or GDP will suffer: ICCC President
An advocate for increased economic ties between India and Canada says recent allegations against the Indian government by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were “premature,” and businesses are suffering as a result.
The president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce told BNN Bloomberg that he is worried about the economic fallout from ongoing tensions between Ottawa and New Delhi, and urged the two sides to reconvene trade talks until an investigation into alleged foreign interference is complete.
“It is high time for both countries to sit together to start a renegotiation on terms and conditions,” Murarilal Thapliyal said in a Wednesday television interview.
While he condemns foreign interference, Thapliyal said he believes the Canadian government should have waited until a formal investigation was complete before accusing India of wrongdoing.
“Without concrete evidence against any country, it was a premature decision which should not (have been made), but the business community is suffering,” Thapliyal said.
Trudeau told the House of Commons on Sept. 18 that there were "credible allegations" that the Indian government was involved in the June death of Sikh independence leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey. B.C. Indian officials have called the allegations “absurd.”
Thapliyal said while India is far from Canada’s largest trading partner, bilateral trade between the two countries is significant and is growing.
“When we talk about business and trade, the bilateral trade between India and Canada is approximately $12 billion,” he said, “so both countries are benefited by this bilateral trade.”
In the first quarter alone, Thapliyal said each country exported close to a $1 billion to the other, but the ongoing governmental rift has “created a lot of problems” and trade has been significantly impacted.
“Ultimately, the politicians’ decisions are different than business people’s,” he added.
Thapliyal added his voice to the chorus of experts who have suggested that the flow of students from India to Canada is the main economic tie between the two countries. Thapliyal said they inject billions of dollars into the Canadian economy each year.
“Around 320,000 international students from India to Canadian colleges and universities’ tuition fees are $6.4 billion every year. That's a revenue of more than $6 billion in contributions to the Canadian local economy,” he said.
Despite government warnings in India that students travelling to Canada may not be safe there, Thapliyal said demand among Indians to study in Canada remains high.