Jaishankar meets Canadian counterpart on sidelines of Commonwealth summit | World News

The foreign ministers of India and Canada on Thursday held their first in-person meeting, focusing on advancing the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Canadian counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.

This was the first time that they met in person after Joly assumed charge of her portfolio following the September 2021 general elections in Canada.

In a tweet, Jaishankar described the conversation as “open & productive”.

It covered a gamut of issues, with Jaishankar saying they “exchanged views on international issues including the Commonwealth, Ukraine conflict &the Indo-Pacific”.

Joly said that they met “to discuss advancing our strategic partnership and our multilateral cooperation, global issues, human rights, Russia’s war in Ukraine and ensuring a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific for the benefit of our peoples”.

The last time the foreign ministers of the two countries met in person was in December 2019 when Jaishankar visited Canada and met the then Canadian foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne.

This meeting between the ministers in Kigali may also have been to set the agenda for a potential bilateral between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau when they both take part in the G7 Summit in Germany this month.

Jaishankar and Joly had also spoken at the beginning of the month. Jaishankar in a tweet had described the conversation as “extensive”.

It had also covered several significant geopolitical issues including the Indo-Pacific and the situation in Ukraine following the attack by Russia in February. A readout from Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, at the time said they “affirmed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region that is founded on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations”.

They had also discussed Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “the need for the international community to come together to restore global peace and security. They also discussed the broader impacts of the conflict, including on global food security”.

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