Those challenging India's unity cannot be tolerated: Modi

India, Canada decide to strengthen defence cooperation

New Delhi, Publish Date: Feb 24 2018 12:28AM | Updated Date: Feb 24 2018 12:28AM
Those challenging India's unity cannot be tolerated: Modi

With his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau by his side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today delivered a firm message, saying those challenging India's sovereignty and unity cannot be tolerated, remarks seen as a subtle reference to Canada's soft-stand towards pro-Khalistani elements.

In a statement at a joint press event after his extensive talks with visiting leader, Modi also asserted that there cannot be any space for those who misuse religion for political motives and promote separatism.

"There should be no space for those misusing faith for political goals and sowing seeds of division. Those who challenge sovereignty, unity and integrity of our countries cannot be tolerated," the prime minister said.

Following the talks, the two sides inked six pacts providing for enhancing cooperation in a number of areas including energy, information technology, trade, science and technology and sports.

Modi said Trudeau and he agreed to fight terrorism and extremism and the National Security Advisers (NSAs) of the two countries have given final touches to the framework for cooperation on countering terrorism and violent extremism.

"We reviewed entire gamut of our relationship and identified ways to strengthen the cooperation. First, we have decided to strengthen our defence cooperation. Terrorism and extremism are threats to democratic and pluralistic countries like India and Canada. It is important to come together to deal with these forces," Modi said.

Trudeau government's “pro-Khalistan” approach is being criticised by many including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who raised the issue with the Canadian prime minister during a meeting on Wednesday.

On his part, Trudeau had assured Singh that his country does not support separatism in India or elsewhere.

Referring to Trudeau's visits to various parts of India in last six days, Modi said, "I am confident, Prime Minister Trudeau must have realised enthusiasm  and friendship towards Canada in India. He must have realised India's diversity and liveliness of our democracy."

Modi said he discussed with Trudeau pressing regional and global issues, adding that the two sides were on the same page on the need to restore independence of democratic institutions in Maldives.

On Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said there was a need to counter “cross border terrorism” and work to build a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan. 

He said both sides also discussed the situation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as North Korea's proliferation linkages.

The Prime Minister said India wants to advance the strategic partnership with Canada as ties between the two countries are based on principles of democracy, pluralism and rule of law.

On trade and investment ties, Modi said both sides agreed to deepen them and observed that there must be institutional mechanism to promote economic engagement.

He said instructions have been issued to negotiators from both the sides to redouble their efforts to finalise the proposed Bilateral Investment and Promotion Agreement and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Modi said both sides discussed ways to expand cooperation in a range of sectors including energy, skill development, education, science and technology and innovation.

He said India is proud of the achievements of the Indian people in Canada and expressed happiness over Trudeau bringing some of them to India as part of his delegation here.

He said India is committed to friendship with Indians in Canada and wants their cooperation in the country's development.

"People-to-people contact is the base of our strategic partnership," said Modi.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the Canadian prime minister and discussed various issues of mutual interest.

Swaraj had a warm meeting with Trudeau and discussed ways to strengthen and deepen the partnership between the two countries, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. PTI