Posted on 11 August 2010 by .
India established diplomatic relations with Canada in 1947. India and Canada have longstanding bilateral relationship based on shared democratic values, the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of two societies and strong people-to-people contacts. In recent years, both countries have been working to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of areas of mutual importance.
Canada is endowed with vast natural reserves in potash, uranium, coal, oil and gas, diamonds, forest products, etc. and offers good opportunities for investments or joint ventures for India. Canada with its advanced technological base can become India’s natural partner in energy, agriculture, food processing, education, science and technology, innovation, environment, cleaner technologies, etc. India would welcome investment from Canada in sectors such as infrastructure, energy, mining, health, education, communication, food processing, information technology, etc.
At the invitation of the Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, Canadian PM Mr. Stephen Harper paid his first official visit to India from 15-18 November 2009. The two Prime Ministers reviewed bilateral relations and discussed regional and global issues of shared interest including G-20, counter-terrorism, etc. and agreed on initiatives to strengthen and diversify bilateral relations. Both the leaders recognized education as an area of new momentum, the need to facilitate mutually beneficial linkages in science, technology and innovation as well as to build synergies between institutions of higher learning in India and Canada.
The two leaders set a trade target of $ 15 billion annually in the next five years. It was also announced that the Year of India will be celebrated in locations across Canada in 2011. Two important MoUs were signed, namely, MoU for Cooperation in the area of Energy and the MoU for the setting up of a Joint Study Group that will explore the possibility of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and Canada.
2009 also witnessed visit of 11 Canadian ministers to India both at federal and provincial levels including high level official visits. In 2009, a number of important agreements were concluded, namely, MoU on Agriculture Cooperation and MoU for Cooperation in Geospatial Information. Other agreements under preparation are: Social Security Agreement, MoU on Cultural Cooperation, MoU on Cooperation in Combating Drug Trafficking, Agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, MoU for Cooperation in the Mining Sector, Transfer of Prisoners Agreement, etc.
Bilateral relations are pursued through the mechanism of annual Foreign Office Consultations, Trade Policy Consultations, Strategic Dialogue, meetings of S&T Committee, Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism, Environment Forum Committee, Joint Working Groups on Pulses, Plant Protection, Health, Agriculture and SPS issues.
India and Canada have also signed the Air Services Agreement, Extradition Treaty, Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, Agreement on Patents, Agreement on Agriculture, S&T Agreement, MoU on Energy, etc. In the education field, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) was founded in 1968 to promote academic relations mainly through funding research and linking academic institutions in the two countries; as of today, 50 universities from India and 38 from Canada are members of the Institute. SICI broadly meets its objective by promoting Canadian Studies in India and Indian Studies in Canada.
Trade INDIA-CANADA BILATERAL TRADE DURING 2005-2009
[Figures in billion Canadian Dollars]
Details 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
1.786 1.919 1.980 2.202 2.002
1,087 1.675 1.792 2.418 2.144
Total 2.873 or
US$ 2.371 bn
US$ 3.169 bn
US$ 3.508 bn
US$ 4.330 bn
US$ 3.630 bn
[Source: Statistics Canada]
Major Items of Indian Exports are: Garments, diamonds, chemicals, gems and jewellery, made-up, sea food, engineering goods, auto parts, marble and granite, knitted garments, rice, electric equipment, carpets, etc. Major items of Canada’s export to India are: Pulses, fertilizers, newsprint, ores and concentrates, wheat, communication equipment, wood pulp, nickel, ferrous waste, asbestos, laboratory equipment, worn clothing, aviation equipment, diamond, silver, etc.
Canadian investors are present in the Indian banking, insurance and financial services sectors, as also in engineering and consultancy services. Canadian investment in India has targeted telecommunications, environment, energy and mining. Indian investment in Canada has increased steadily in the recent years, especially in the information technology and software sectors. The two-way investment data for the period 2004-2008 is as under:
[Figures in million Canadian dollars]
Details 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
India’s investments in Canada 92 171 211 430 1022
Canada’s investments in India 214 319 806 644 801
[Source: Statistics Canada]
Canada is home to 962,670 people of Indian origin (2006 Census). Out of this population, 50% are Sikhs, 39% are Hindus, and the remainder are Muslim, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, etc. Majority of them live in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. There is also a presence of ethnic media, both print and electronic, in different regions of Canada. There are currently 9 Indo-Canadian MPs in the House of Commons and two in the Senate. There are approximately 7,300 Indian students studying in various Canadian universities/colleges.
Air India and Jet Airways have regular flights to Canada from India. State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Government of India Tourist Office, Air India and Jet Airways have offices in Canada. Many renowned Indian companies have presence in Canada such as Tata, Aditya Birla, Reliance, Essar, etc. and reputed Indian IT companies have opened branches in Canada.
Canada has established Trade Offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. Reputed Canadian companies such as Bombardier, SNC Lavalin, CAE, Inc., etc. have a presence in India for the past several years.