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India trade mission put off, trade minister’s office says amid strained relations

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Trade Minister Mary Ng’s office says a planned “Team Canada” trip to India is being put off, giving no details about when it will go ahead.

Ng was scheduled to lead a five-day “Team Canada” trade mission to Mumbai with leaders from Canadian businesses and provinces, leaving on Oct. 9.

The trade mission, the first in Asia under Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy, was focused on boosting Canadian clean-technology companies as a way to help meet India’s need for renewable energy.

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The Trade Commissioner Service says the trip would’ve also sought to increase trade in sectors such as automotive, agriculture and value-added food, digital technology, infrastructure and life sciences.

It would’ve also involved networking with Indian business leaders, briefings from senior officials, and key industry players and roundtables with local industry and experts.

A description of the trip posted on the Trade Commissioner Service website noted that India was the fastest-growing major economy in 2022.

“India’s growing strategic, economic and demographic importance in the Indo-Pacific makes it a critical partner in Canada’s pursuit of its objectives under the Indo-Pacific strategy,” reads the online notice meant to entice Canadian business leaders to join Ng’s trip.

Ng was set to meet Friday with her provincial and territorial counterparts as part of recurring trade-minister meetings. The meeting comes days after the Saskatchewan government claimed Ottawa has left provinces in the dark for months over the status of trade talks with India.

This past weekend, India’s foreign ministry expressed “strong concerns” over Sikh separatists in Canada, who want to carve out their own state in India.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Sunday with Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi.

The summary of the meeting provided by Modi’s office focused heaving on that issue, with nothing to say on trade negotiations with Canada. A written summary published by Trudeau’s office was also silent on that point.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has refused to provide any detailed explanation of why it paused trade talks with India, a move that blindsided business leaders and provinces.

“It’s really important to take a look at the negotiations that have been taking place, and just reflect on it. It’s normal; we do that all the time,” Ng said.

“We always want the best deal for Canadians and I want to make sure that we do that.”

Two weeks ago, Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma told The Canadian Press that Ottawa paused the trade talks, and that he wasn’t aware why.

The Business Council of Canada, which has been pushing for more trade with India, stressed that the two countries benefit from commerce.

“We expect this relationship to continue irrespective of political tensions that may occur from time to time,” wrote the group’s president, Goldy Hyder.

“As we have seen with other bilateral relations, disputes tend to work themselves out. In the meantime, business carries on by strengthening ties and forging new opportunities because trade creates jobs, drives economic growth, and raises living standards for all Canadians.”

New Delhi has long argued that Canada undermines India’s national security through some people in Sikh communities who advocate for part of the Indian state of Punjab to become an independent country.

The Indian government perceives this as an extremist movement and has long accused Canada of harbouring extremists. Ottawa has maintained that freedom of speech means groups can voice political opinions so long as they are not violent.

The issue has become particularly heated this spring over unproven allegations that India had a hand in the shooting death of a Sikh gurdwara leader near Vancouver in June. The RCMP have said they have no evidence of any links to foreign interference and had no reason to believe the Sikh community in Canada is at risk.

New Delhi has argued the claim of interference is groundless, and has complained about posters by the advocacy group Sikhs for Justice seeking the home addresses of Indian diplomats.

On Thursday, that group announced a second grassroots referendum on Khalistan independence, saying the Oct. 29 vote would ask whether Verma is “responsible for the assassination” of temple leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Speaking last month about posters calling him an “assassin,” Verma said: “There is a reward on my head today by the Khalistani terrorists, and when I look at that, I say, ‘If that is freedom of expression, I do not know which world I’m living in.’”

Also Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly revealed Canada has offered round-the-clock security to India’s diplomats.

“India has been bringing some issues in the past (and) we’ve addressed them particularly when it came to the security and safety of their diplomats. Indian diplomats in Canada have 24/7 security,” Joly said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Liberal caucus retreat in London, Ont., Joly noted Canada has “an important trade relationship” with India.

 

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Story from the Cyber Frontlines

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Long ago, but not too far away, in one of my past lives, I used to manage the online operations for a bustling retail brand. It was a colorful, kid-friendly virtual wonderland known for its cheeky prints, chirpy characters, and evergreen joie de vivre. However, there was another side to this fun façade, an unseen realm perpetually under siege. Among the numerous safety protocols and countless lines of code, we fought an incessant cyber-war, forever alight with skirmishes and strategic defenses.

Armoring the Cyber Stronghold

Selecting the right platform is the cornerstone of any secure online presence. In our story, we opted for a reputable e-commerce platform with significant market presence and advanced inbuilt safety features. Reliable platforms usually mean fewer vulnerabilities. They also come with a dedicated security team that regularly rolls out updates and patches. During my years at the helm, I witnessed a flurry of urgent midnight updates, each one addressing newly discovered vulnerabilities. The vital lesson here is to ensure you install these patches promptly and regularly.

SSL certificates, though they may sound technical, are one of the easiest yet powerful security upgrades you can adopt. This encryption tool prevented potential interception of sensitive information between the user’s browser and our site—yet another bulwark to impede the progress of cyber invaders.

We cannot talk about fortifications without discussing the potential armor breaches. Unfortunately, human error, often in the form of weak password policies, is a recurrent kink in the armor. To counter these vulnerabilities, we maintained a robust password policy requiring a mix of alphanumeric and special characters. This policy, when paired with mandatory regular updates, significantly enhanced our safety measures.

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Lastly, we utilized an assortment of digital security tools. Website firewalls, security plugins, scanner tools, and even the humble CAPTCHA contributed to presenting advanced cyber deterrence. Access to these tools depended on the chosen platform, a factor to consider when setting up a secure online presence.

Lessons from the Cyber Kingdoms

One of the many retail websites that have significantly benefitted from implementing robust website security measures is well-known children’s brand. Implementing thorough security protocols, up-to-date SSL certificates, and regular security audits resulted in a drastic reduction in data breach.

The same success was echoed in another kid’s e-commerce platform that faced attempted breaches. Here, strong password policies, combined with additional layers of verification, staved off any potential security breach. You can read more about their success story here.

Navigating the Cyber Seas

Merely having top-tier security systems is not enough. The rolling out of these measures confronts two significant barriers – technical difficulties and cost issues. However, these challenges are conquerable with effective planning and strategies.

To tackle technical difficulties, investing in a dedicated IT team and providing them with the necessary resources and training is crucial. This team, capable of handling any technical issue, can implement updates and fixes diligently, securing your website from potential breaches.

In addressing cost issues, consider it an investment. Remember that the potential harm a security breach can wreak ranges from financial losses to irreversible damages to reputation. Adopt a tiered implementation approach, starting with affordable solutions such as strong password policies, gradual enhancements to SSL certificates, and eventually a holistic security system.

Being prepared always makes a world of difference. In today’s world where the cyber realm goes hand in hand with our physical space, the same holds for the security of our digital strongholds.

An Unforgettable Lesson in Website Security

Let me share an anecdote about a time when one of my clients, a prominent retailer in the children’s fashion industry, faced a massive security issue that nearly brought their brand to its knees. It was a typical Tuesday afternoon when I received a frantic call from the client. Their online store had been hacked, and customer data was compromised. It was a nightmare situation, one that they never foresaw. This experience was a wake-up call, not just for them, but for me as well, about the importance of website security, especially in the realm of kids’ retail.

The Risks of Unsecured Kids’ Retail Sites

Children are an easy target for cybercriminals. Their innocence and lack of awareness make them vulnerable to scams, fraud, and identity theft. When a kids’ retail website does not prioritize security, it exposes its young users to a host of risks.

  • Children’s Data Misuse: Personal details such as names, addresses, and even photos can be harvested and used for malicious purposes. This can range from creating fake profiles to conducting targeted scams.
  • Consequences of a Security Breach: In a worst-case scenario, credit card information can be stolen resulting in financial loss. The breach can lead to legal implications, not to mention, a significant loss of customer trust and brand reputation.

Why is Security Essential for Kids’ Retail Sites?

As administrators, owners, or marketers of kids’ retail sites, it is our responsibility to ensure a safe online shopping experience for our young customers. Let’s explore a few reasons why website security should be non-negotiable.

  • Protecting Users’ Sensitive Information: A secure website uses encryption to protect sensitive information, ensuring that even if data is intercepted, it cannot be read or misused.
  • Maintaining Brand Reputation: A secure shopping environment builds customer trust. In contrast, a single security breach can cause irreversible damage to your brand’s reputation.

Prioritize Website Security

Understanding why website security is crucial for kids’ retail sites is the first step. The next, and arguably more important step, is to take action. It’s time to review your website security measures, identify any potential vulnerabilities, and fix them. Remember, when it comes to website security, prevention is always better than cure.

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India-Canada news: Are lentils going to be a chokepoint amid diplomatic tension | Mint – Mint

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Amid India-Canada row, Elon Musk accuses Canadian PM Justin Trudeau of ‘crushing free speech’; here’s why

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Amid the ongoing India-Canada row, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has slammed the Justin Trudeau government in Canada for ‘crushing free speech’ in the country. His remark came in wake of a recent order of the Canada government which issued an order to make it compulsory for online streaming services to formally register with the government for ‘regulatory controls’.

While responding to a post by journalist and author Glenn Greenwald who was commenting on the ruling.

“The Canadian government, armed with one of the world’s most repressive online censorship schemes, announces that all “online streaming services that offer podcasts” must formally register with the government to permit regulatory controls,” Greenwald posted on X (formerly Twitter)

Responding to this, Elon Musk stated, “Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada. Shameful”.

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This is not the first time the Trudeau government is accused of acting against free speech. Last year, in February 2022, Trudeau had invoked emergency powers for the first time in country’s history to arm his government with more power to respond to the trucker protests, who were opposing the vaccine mandates at that time. Three days later he invoked the War Measures Act, the predecessor to the Emergencies Act, and sent troops into Quebec and other provinces. The crisis ended, but only after the separatist group killed the cabinet minister.

Meanwhile, Canadian PM has created an uproar since he alleged India’s role in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India, however, has outrightly rejected his claims, calling it ‘absurd’ and ‘motivated’.

Notably, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India has suspended its visa services in Canada, following Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the killing. Canada is home to about 770,000 Sikhs, the highest population outside India’s Punjab.

Amid strained ties, India issued an advisory for its citizens and those who are travelling to Canada to exercise “utmost caution in view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” in the country.

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