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For even some of the smallest Canadian companies with ties to India, day-to-day business has been complicated by a worsening diplomatic feud between the two countries.
Karnalyte Resources Inc. abruptly cancelled plans to meet with its Indian board members as the governments of Canada and India traded barbs over the killing of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil. The Saskatchewan-based potash firm counts two Indian executives and one Indian banker among its board members.
“We were preparing to welcome our board colleagues from India for a visit to Canada this week but they cancelled their trip due to the tensions that arose and quickly escalated last week,” Karnalyte’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Danielle Favreau said in an email. “We hope to be able to reschedule their visit soon.
Karnalyte is planning to build a potash mine in Western Canada and counts Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. — one of India’s largest fertilizer and industrial chemicals manufacturing companies — as its largest shareholder. When the mine starts producing, most of its output will go to the state-owned Indian firm.
Karnalyte’s chairman is Vishvesh Nanavaty, who is also Gujarat State Fertilizer’s chief financial officer, while director Dilip Pathakjee works as a senior vice president for the Indian firm, according to Canadian company’s website. Another Karnalyte board member, D.C. Anjaria, is from India and has international banking experience.
Since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government earlier this month of orchestrating the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian activist pushing for an independent Sikh homeland in the Punjab region, India has suspended visa applications for Canadians who want to travel to the country. Meanwhile, Canadian firms including AtkinsRéalis, formerly SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., have limited travel to India for Canadian employees.