India Canada relations have reached the stage of normalcy

By Anand Mishra
In Interview
June 13, 2016
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Ajit Jain, Nadir Patel

Ajit Jain (right), with Nadir Patel, Canada’s Ambassador to India (Left)

Ajit Jain is a who-is-who in India Canada relations and Indian Diaspora in Canada. A veteran journalist of over three decades experience, he was the Managing Editor of India Abroad weekly from 1985 to 2013. Since then he has been the Canada Editor of the Indian Diaspora. Besides these, Ajit has written for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun and the Khaleej Times. He has published the A-Lists (January 2015 and January 2016) which profiles 50 eminent Indo-Canadians, Friends of India, and Indo-Canadian academic, business and charitable organizations. Ajit was awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (Sept 2012) as well as Gandhi Peace Award from McMaster University’s Centre for Peace Studies (2012). In a conversation with Rajesh Mehta, Consulting Editor, Governance Today, Ajit talks about his journey and Indian Diaspora in Canada.

Edited excerpts:

How did the idea of A-List come to your mind and what do you want to project with this Publication?

I have been reporting on the Indo-Canadian Diaspora for over 32 years. I have seen closely how the community, from days of ‘Pakis go home” has slowly, slowly reached a stage where there are outstanding successful people in all conceivable fields. So, I said to myself why should their stories not be shared widely. That’s how the idea of first
the Power List, and now the A-List started.

Could you tell readers about your 2015 Publication of A-List and 2016 Publication of A-List?

These publications tell stories of successful Indo-Canadians in various disciplines who have, through their hard work and determination succeeded in their respective fields and have now become mentors, leaders in their own rights.

Could you tell readers about the Power List which came out in 2008, 2009 and 2011?

The Power Lists were the same as the current A-Lists. The Power Lists were published by India Abroad where I was then the Managing Editor. The A-Lists are more comprehensive and in these I have added an additional section “Friends of India” who are not Indo- Canadians but work very closely with Indo-Canadians and are actively promoting Canada-India close ties.

You headed India Abroad for a very long time. What were the major takeaways from this experience?

No takeaways. The position provided me with an opportunity to be working so very closely with the community, reporting on ups and downs in the community, progressively more ups than downs, reporting on internal strife in the community results of horrible Air India tragedy of June 1985, etc.

India has a very strong Diaspora in Canada. How is it influencing Indo-Canada Relations?

India-Canada relations have reached the stage of normalcy. There are no major issues between the two countries. And a great deal of credit for this goes to the Indo-Canadian community. There are currently four Indo-Canadians in the federal cabinet. There are 20 Members of Parliament. There are members in the State legislatures, so also Ministers in provinces.

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