Britain to continue trade talks with India despite Canada's allegations

Sep 19, 2023

London [UK], September 19 : Despite Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations on India for its involvement in the death of a Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Britain would continue to have trade talks with India, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesperson said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
"Work on the trade negotiations will continue as before. The Canadian authorities will now conduct their work and I'm not going to preempt them," the spokesperson told the reporters.
The official reaffirmed that Canada and Britain were in contact with the "serious allegations," but insisted that it would not affect negotiations for a trade agreement with India, Reuters reported.
With the ongoing trade negotiations with India, the spokesperson further added by saying, "When we have concerns about countries we are negotiating trade deals with, we will raise them directly with the government concerned. But with regards to the current negotiations with India, these are negotiations about a trade deal, and we're not looking to conflate them with other issues," Reuters reported.
India and the UK are notably the two countries that are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement, talks for which had begun in 2022. The 12th round of negotiations for the UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took place from August 8 to 31 this year.
During his recent visit to India for the G20 Summit, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK and India are two nations with one ambition, an ambition rooted in shared values, the connection between people.
“Two nations, one ambition. An ambition rooted in our shared values, the connection between our people and – of course – our passion for cricket,” the UK PM had posted on social media platform X.
The two leaders also had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in India, which followed their meeting held on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima in May this year in which they had discussed the India-UK free trade agreement, innovation, and science along with ways to strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
Notably, India rejected the allegations by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier today, regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) termed the allegations ‘absurd ‘and ‘motivated’.
“We have seen and reject the statement of the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament, as also the statement by their Foreign Minister,” said the MEA in an official statement.
“Allegations of the Indian government’s “involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated” the release added.
The Indian response came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the allegations against the Indian government on Monday (September 18) of being behind the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.
Najjar, who was wanted in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.