Local business owner closely monitoring strained relationship between Canada and India

Ongoing tensions between Canada and India is being watched closely by the President and CEO of AGT Foods, Murad Al-Katib.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was credible intelligence that India had a role in the killing of a prominent Sikh leader in B.C. who was also a Canadian citizen. India replied by accusing Canada of harbouring terrorists. Trudeau has also called on India to cooperate with Canada’s investigation.

The back-and-forth has led to trade talks between the two countries to cool down.

Speaking at the launch of the AGT Food Bank Crop Exchange Program on Thursday, Al-Katib is optimistic things will change for the better.

“The people of Canada and India have a long-term partnership that works for both nations. We have arable land and water that India doesn’t have. We have farmers that are able to produce at scale, at the lowest cost and the highest quality, and India needs the food, and so from that perspective we’re optimistic that politics will remain politics,” Al-Katib said. “The basic, essential access to staple foods and commodities and food inflation is the most relevant political issue in the world today, so we’re hoping that calm heads prevail on the political sides and that people – like we’re having in this program – in India and other nations have access to the food that they need.”

Al-Katib also says the world from a geo-political standpoint is completely different today.

“The Russia-Ukraine crisis complicates availability…drought and rains at harvest have ruined crops in central Asia and central Europe…Canada, we still had a drought-affected crop this year but we are part of the solution for the world,” he said, adding agriculture and food should be left out of political issues.

“Even when we impose the strictest economic sanctions on a country, we exclude basic foods from those sanctions. Politics have to have plans to make sure that the basic, staple foods go to the people that need it the most.”

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