Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Montarville.
Today's opposition motion puts into question the professionalism of some of the most senior public servants in our country. Canada's national security agencies are non-partisan and both highly competent and effective. We trust them to protect and promote Canada's security.
The answer in regard to the invitation and discussion is clear. In fact, the invitation should never have been issued, and when that invitation was discovered, it was immediately rescinded.
The government has great confidence in the security and diplomatic advisers to the government, who always act in an impartial fashion and always in the best interests of Canadians. They continue to do an excellent job in serving and protecting these interests. We respect our national security agencies, and we respect the non-partisan public service. We respect their ability to provide non-partisan advice.
Reflecting the 1.4 million Canadians of Indian heritage, and cognizant of Canada's geostrategic and commercial interests in the Indo-Pacific region, the Prime Minister's objective during his recent visit was to reaffirm that Canada stands with a united India. Recognizing that the relationship between Canada and India is based on a shared commitment to pluralism, diversity, and democracy, the Prime Minister visited cultural and religious sites of significance to people in Canada, India, and around the world.
During this debate, we are also wise to reflect again on the importance of India in regional and global geopolitics. Given Canada's own strong global bonds and priorities, there is clear potential benefit in collaborating with India in many areas. As many Canadians clearly appreciate, India is the largest and most influential state in south Asia. It is the key actor in its immediate neighbourhood, with complex and important relationships with neighbours like Pakistan and China. It also plays a key role in Asia as a whole in its strategic interactions, especially, but not limited to, in the Indian Ocean region.
India is important for the pursuit of Canadian geopolitical interests across Asia. Not surprisingly, therefore, the recent meetings between our Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi included consideration of this very question. As a result, the two leaders resolved to work together in bilateral and multilateral frameworks to promote a stable and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, which would not only benefit Canada economically but also serve to broaden our effectiveness and penetration as the region moves forward toward greater wealth, influence, and connectivity.
A number of important shared challenges face India and Canada in the Indo-Pacific region. During the visit, for example, the two prime ministers discussed a number of regional and global issues of critical importance.
With respect to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, the leaders paid special attention to security matters. Both called for the immediate cessation of violence, the renunciation of links with international terrorism, and the dismantling of infrastructure to support terrorism. The leaders also affirmed support to the government and the people of Afghanistan to achieve an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled national peace and reconciliation process. Our relationship with India on these matters is important in order for lasting peace and prosperity in the region to be realized.
Our Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi also called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to abide strictly by its international obligations and commitments. They called on all states to implement rigorously the relevant UN Security Council resolutions relating to the DPRK.
Both prime ministers deplored the current state of affairs in the Maldives and urged the government of that country to allow democratic institutions, including parliament and the judiciary, to function independently in a fair and transparent manner.
Furthermore, the prime ministers also discussed the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh, and called for the voluntary, safe, and sustainable return of the Rohingya refugees, while stressing the importance of ensuring law, order, and respect for human dignity in the process. The leaders called for the restoration of humanitarian access for relevant United Nations and other international organizations to facilitate the return process.
This is a matter that remains of great concern to many Canadians. In fact, a number of concerned constituents in my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore have written letters to my office about the Rohingya crisis—