Anti-Canada vote by India not to impact ties: Indo-Canadians (Lead)

October 16th, 2010 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Oct 16 (IANS) Though many in the million-strong, powerful Indo-Canadian community expressed unease about India voting against Canada for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat this week, they don’t expect it to impact burgeoning relationship between the two countries.

Canada suffered major diplomatic humiliation in decades after its so-called friendly countries, including India, ditched it to vote for Portugal for the Security Council seat this week.

Since Ottawa has invested heavily in its relationship with India in the past two years, it banked on New Delhi to vote for it. But since Portugal supports India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Council and Canada doesn’t, India opted for the former.

Not pleased with the possibility of new irritants in India-Canada relations, entrepreneur Ajit Someshwar, founder of Canada India Foundation, said: “Canada is making a concerted effort to build a strong relationship with India. With the recent visits of the prime minister (Stephen Harper) and almost every Canadian cabinet minister to India, it is clear that Canada is very serious about building a strong alliance with India.”

He added: “India, therefore, needs to be strategic about its relationship with Canada. India’s every move vis-a-vis its new strategic ally is being watched. Given that the population of the Indian diaspora is burgeoning in Canada, India needs to think of Canada’s interests as it affects almost a million people of Indian origin here.”

Another Indo-Canadian entrepreneur, who requested anonymity, said: “I feel India can probably win Canada over to its side (for support for its bid for the permanent seat). At the same time, New Delhi has to appreciate what the current Canadian government has done to end its nuclear isolation and signed a nuclear deal with it.

“In the long term, I feel Canada is much too important for India in terms of resources, trade and even in terms of its huge Indian diaspora.”

Kam Rathee, former chairman of the influential Canada-India Business Council, told IANS: “Our bilateral relationship is too solid to be impacted by one or two issues on the international stage. Canada is a mature country and Mr Stephen Harper is a smart prime minister who understands all this (India’s ambition).”

Former Canadian health minister and top Indo-Canadian leader Ujjal Dosanjh refused to comment on the issue. “It is a little too complicated, and I don’t want to comment on it,” Dosanjh said.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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