TORONTO: The current tensions between Canada and India has cast their shadow on this year’s biggest Indo-Canadian awards night when Sudha Murty, wife of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murty, was given the $50,000 Global Indian Award by the Canada India Foundation.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and many Canadian leaders failed to show up at the event even as prominent Indo-Canadian MP Chandra Arya, some Ontario legislators and local mayors were in attendance.
Touching on the current relations between India and Canada, Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma, who was the chief guest, said the political relationship would ultimately be dealt with by the two governments. But the Indo-Canadian community should keep building the bilateral relationship, he added.
“This is the time when the heat is there (in our relations) and we have to cool it down.”
Invoking Indian mythology in this context, Verma said, “I can see a lot of Vishnus around this room who are taking the relationship forward, keeping the relationship alive. Shiva has his benign form ... whenever there is heat, Ganga comes out of Shiva. We need Shivas in his benign form and need Ganga to come down and cool the temperature which is there in our current bilateral relations.”
The Indian High Commissioner said, “There would be emotional outbursts because India is an emotional country.”
Urging the Indian diaspora to keep working for better bilateral ties, Verma said, “What I will urge you all to do is: you do business, you do advocacy, you teach people (about India), you grow students into entrepreneurs. These are the areas which aren’t going to be affected (by the current relationship).”
In his welcome speech, Canada India Foundation chairman Satish Thakkar said Canada-India relations should not be “held hostage to local political compulsions”. Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy can only be successful if its commercial and political ties with India - one of the key partners - are strong, Thakkar said.
He added, “These ties depend on understanding of each other’s national security concerns and willingness to address areas of discord through sustained diplomacy, unencumbered by local political compulsions.” IANS