Canada’s new envoy to India to re-energise ties

Canada is set to re-energise its multifaceted relations with India by announcing the appointments of the new High Commissioner to India and the Consuls General to Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai.

The announcement was made by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly on December 23.

Cameron MacKay, a veteran trade negotiator, has been appointed as Canada’s High Commissioner to India. He will succeed Nadir Patel.  Mr McKay’s diplomatic career included stints as Canada’s ambassador to Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua from 2010 to 2012 and as Canada’s ambassador to Indonesia and Timor-Leste from 2019 to 2021.

Benoit Préfontaine will be Canada’s Consul General in Bengaluru. Patrick Hébert will be Canada’s Consul General in Chandigarh. Ms. Diedrah Kelly will be Canada’s Consul General in Mumbai.

The new high commissioner of Canada has his job cut out for him: he will be taking charge at a time when India and Canada are  grappling with a new wave of omicron virus and global economic recovery is uncertain. In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on his victory in the general election, and underlined that he looked forward to strengthening bilateral relations.

Mr MacKay’s skills as a trade negotiator will come in handy as India looks to revive talks for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), which have been under discussion for years. On December 2, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic development Marg Ng had a telephonic conversation with India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

The two ministers “welcomed a re-engagement on negotiations toward a Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership agreement and a Canada-India foreign investment promotion and protection agreement, and committed to working closely together to reach agreements in the coming months,” said a  statement from Global Affairs Canada.


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