Toronto: India’s new High Commissioner Vikas Swarup has been in Canada for hardly six weeks but he’s already creating waves.
During the last more than 30 years, this writer hasn’t seen a single of his predecessors getting full-page coverage in the Canadian national daily as he has got. “Two trade deals top India envoy’s agenda,” says the five-column spread story in the Globe and Mail. The story talks more on who Swarup is with a great deal of emphasis on his passion for writing, how he wrote his first major novel “Q&A” that was turned into a full-length Oscar- winning, highly-acclaimed movie “Slumdog Millionaire” that took the Indian diplomat to Hollywood.
The report said that as an official spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs,, he earned acclaim from both External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and they both offered him an open invitation to choose the Indian mission he would like to head and the job was his. “Mr. Swarup eventually got his pick of diplomatic postings and chose Canada, he says, because it is an English-speaking, G7 country with an Indian Diaspora of 1.2 million people,” the paper said.
Swarup “arrives at a significant time for Canada-India relations, as the two countries attempt to finalize two major trade deals,” said the report.
Emphasizing on his being “the former right hand man to Prime Minister Narendra Modi” India’s new High Commissioner “will communicate India’s interests to a federal government that already understands the importance of its relationship with the emerging superpower and identifies India as a priority for Canada’s trade agenda.”
“He now has his mind set on his first major task … securing a visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India,” said the daily. “He hopes the trip will happen this year.”
His major tasks also include finalizing two trade deals that have been in the works for several years and those deals include a free trade agreement and a foreign investment promotion agreement.
Informed sources said that the free trade deal file is with the Canadian government and one major sticking point is India’s demand for free movement of human capital – that qualified professionals and business people should be allowed to move freely and allowed to enter Canada without restrictions.
Besides “Q&A”, Swarup has written two more books which have been translated into several international languages. It is after he wrote those two more books that Swarup was named “spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs in 2015, a job that required him to travel on every trip abroad with Mr. Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (and)… (he) eventually got his pick of diplomatic postings and (he) chose Canada.”
(Ajit Jain can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)