Canada finally calls India for COVID vaccine

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID vaccines sought by Canada.

This much needed telephone call comes after criticism from the opposition parties in Canada.

Michelle Rempel Garner, the shadow minister of health for the opposition Conservative Party

A few days ago Michelle Rempel Garner, the shadow minister of health for the opposition Conservative Party, questioned minister of public services and procurement Anita Anand, whether she or the Canadian Prime Minister had reached out to PM Modi.

- Advertisement -

Michelle Rempel Garner asked, “Has the minister or prime minister phoned Prime Minister Modi to ask if we could get vaccines from India?”

Canada’s Minister of public services and procurement Anita Anand

Anita Anand responded, “I personally have not phoned Prime Minister Modi and I cannot speak for anyone else in our government.”

To another follow-up whether PM Trudeau had placed such a call, Anita Anand said, “I do not know.”

PM Trudeau made a telephone call to Narendra Modi and said that if the world managed to conquer COVID-19, it would be significantly because of India’s tremendous pharmaceutical capacity and Modi’s leadership in sharing this capacity with the world, according to a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) statement.

There are some strains in India-Canada bilateral ties at the moment because of the comments made by PM Trudeau about the protest by farmers in India.

In December 2020, during a Facebook interaction, PM Trudeau had said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t start also by recognising the news coming out of India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning and we’re all very worried about family and friends.”

- Advertisement -

“We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told media.

Canada’s envoy to India, Nadir Patel, was on December 4 summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The senior MEA officials served him a démarche, conveying that the comments made by Prime Minister Trudeau and other ministers of the Canadian Government were below the expectations of India.

Canada’s envoy to India, Nadir Patel

Despite this tension between the two nations caused by a group of Indo-Canadian activists, PM Modi assured that India would do its best to support Canada’s vaccination efforts.

Canada is not part of the 25 countries to which India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has approved the supply of 24 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on a commercial basis.

Canadian journalist and the host of The Counter Signal, Keean Bexte praising PM Modi’s unconditional help to Canada tweeted:

PM Modi and PM Trudeau reiterated to continue the close collaboration and keep working on the common perspective shared by India and Canada on important geo-political issues.