India Canada Bilateral Relations
High Commission of India
Brief on IndiaCanada relations
India-Canada bilateral relations have seen a transformation in recent years underpinned by shared values of democracy, pluralism,expanding economic engagement, regular high level interactions and long-standing people-to-people ties. During the visit of Prime Minister of India to Canada in April 2015, the two sides agreed to elevate the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
2. Historical ties between the two countries go back to over a century when Indians began migrating in small numbers to British Columbia in late 19th century.After India became independent the bond of ‘Commonwealth of Nations’ was forged.Over the years an array ofinstitutional mechanismshave been put in place to promote bilateral cooperation. Both nations are also active members of multilateral forums such as G-20, ARF, WTO, etc.
3. Canada is home to over 1.2 million Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) who comprise more than 3% of the country’s population. The highly educated, affluent and industriousIndo-Canadian community, one the largest immigrant groups in Canada, is well integrated with the mainstream and serves as a strong bridge between the two nations.
4. At the political level, the relations in recent years are marked by regular interactions at the highest level. PrimeMinister Jean Chretien visited India in 2003 and Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005. Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid an official visit to India from 15-18 November 2009. He called on PresidentPratibhaPatil and met Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. AMoU was signed to establish a Joint Study Group to examine the feasibility of a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).Another MoU was signed for cooperation in energy & energy efficiency.
5. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Toronto from 25-26 June 2010 to attend the G-20 Summit.A bilateral component was added on the margins. The two PMs heldbilateral discussions on 27thJune.An Agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation and three MoUs on cooperation in Mining, Culture, and HigherEducation were signed.
6. Prime Minister Harper visited India again from 4 to 9 November 2012, covering Agra, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore. Three agreements were signed – Social Security Agreement (for linking the pension system of the two countries, and facilitating movement of professionals), MoU on Information Communication Technology and Electronics (for establishing a framework of cooperation in the ICT&E sector) and MoU between DRDO and York University for cooperation in the field of defence science and technology.The negotiations for Appropriate Arrangements, for operationalization of India-Canada agreement for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy were also concluded.
7. In the Joint Statement issued during the visit, the two Prime Ministers agreed on the imperative to forge a forward-looking relationship by deepening bilateral engagement at a strategic level and better leveraging significant complementarities in key areas of mutual interest such as: energy security; agriculture and food security; mineral resources; education; infrastructure development; and advanced civilian, defence and space technologies. They agreed to intensify interaction through regular meetings, including on the margins of international meetings, and to institute an annual strategic dialogue between the two Foreign Ministers, supported by bilateral meetings among senior officials.
8. The inaugural India-Canada Strategic Dialogue, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister (EAM) Salman Khurshid and Foreign Minister John Baird, was held in Toronto on 23 September, 2013. The Strategic Dialogue constitutes the foremost mechanism to provide a long-term strategic direction to the bilateral relations by focusing on priority areas of cooperation.The 2ndround was held in New Delhi on 14 October 2014 co-chaired by EAMSushmaSwaraj and FM Baird. FM Baird and Minister for International Trade, Ed Fast, jointly called on Prime Minister Modi.
9. The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, paid a State visit to India from 22 February to 2 March, 2014, covering New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. Three documents were signed during the visit: Canada Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement; Programme of Cooperation on Collaboration between Department of Biotechnology and Grand Challenges Canada to address health and development need and MOU between the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC).
10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an historic standalone bilateral visit to Canada from 14-16 April 2015, after a gap of 42 years, covering Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. He held extensive discussions with Canada’s political, business and academic leaders and also addressed some 10,000 PIOs & friends of India, at Toronto on 15th April. He interalia called on Governor General Johnston and held talks with Prime Minister Harper. Documents signed during the visit include: MoU between ISRO and the Canadian Space Agency concerning Cooperation in the field of Space; MoU between the Ministry of Railways and Department of Transport of Canada on Technical Cooperation in Rail Transportation; MoU between Ministry of Civil Aviation and Department of Transport of Canada on Deepening Cooperation in Civil Aviation; Letter of intent between between Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and Grand Challenges Canada for the implementation of Collaboration in Disease elimination and Saving Brain Initiative. An Agreement between the Indian Department of Atomic Energy and Cameco of Canada for long-term supply of uranium to India was also concluded.
11. The Prime Ministers agreed to elevate the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership and take concrete measures to expand bilateral cooperation in key areas including the economy, trade and investment, civil nuclear cooperation, energy, education and skills development, agriculture, defence and security, science, technology, innovation and space, culture, and people-to-people ties.Speaking at the Joint Press Interaction, Prime Minister Modi sought Canada’s cooperation and investment in every area of India’s national development priority – Energy and Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Skills, Smart Cities and Agro-industry and Research and Education. To expand people-to-people contacts, Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV) and 10-year visas were announced for Canadian nationals.
Trade and Economy
12. The two-way trade has increased from C$ 4.2 billion in 2010 to C$6.4 billion in 2014, but does not reflect the true potential. India accounts for only 0.6% of Canada’s global trade. Major items of India exports to Canada include gems, jewellery and precious stones, pharmaceutical products, readymade garments, textiles, organic chemicals, light engineering goods, iron & steel articles, etc. India’s major items of import from Canada include pulses, newsprint, wood pulp, asbestos, potash, iron scrap, copper, minerals and industrial chemicals, etc.
13. The cumulative Indian FDI, as perStatistics Canada in 2014 was C$3,973 million as against Canadian FDI of C$1,128 million inIndia. Indian investment in Canada has increased steadily in the recent years, especially in the IT, software and natural resources sectors.Indian companies with substantial operations in Canada include Aditya Birla Group, Essar Steel, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel Minerals Canada, Tech Mahindra, WIPRO, Infosys Technology, Jubilant Life Sciences, Abellon Energy Inc, IFFCO and Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (GSFC).Two Indian Banks, State Bank of India and ICICI, have seven and nine branches respectively in Canada.
14. The major thrust areas for Canadian companies in India are in power& energy, equipment & services; oil and gas; environment products & services; telecommunications &IT; and the financial sector, including insurance. Canadian strength lies in traditional areas such as consulting and engineering, as well as in fields such as education, software development, and financial services. Canadian companies with operations in India include SNC Lavalin, Bombardier, CAE Inc., Sun Life Financial, Export Development Canada, Canpotex Limited, Open Text Corporation, Alliance Grain Traders, CGI Montreal, Apotex Inc., McCain Foods Limited, Husky Injection Molding Systems Limited, Amdocs, and Bank of Nova Scotia.
15. In the Joint Statement, issued during the visit of PM Minister Modi the sides underlined the need to elevate two-way trade and investment linkages to their full potential. They agreed to pursue specific measures in this regard including early finalisation of the Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA).
16. The two leaders also welcomed the agreement on a road map to expeditiously conclude a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial CEPA. CEPA negotiations commenced in November 2010. The 9th round of the CEPA negotiations was held in New Delhi in March 2015.
17. India and Canada have also established institutionalised mechanisms to promote bilateral economic ties including Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment; Trade Policy Consultations at the level of Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce; and the Economic and Financial Sector Policy Dialogue, were.
18. The India-Canada CEO Forum was constituted in 2013 to facilitate the exchange of ideas and encourage bilateral discussions that will improve trade and investment flows between Canada and India.The inaugural meeting of the Forum was convened in November 2012 in New Delhi. The secretariat for the Forum is provided by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) on the Indian side and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) on the Canadian side.The Forum identified natural resources, infrastructure, education, information and communication technology and financial services as priority sectors to enhance cooperation and to provide private sector input and policy recommendations to both the governments.
Bilateral cooperation in various sectors
19. Nuclear Energy: The Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA), which was signed in June 2010, came into force in September 2013.The Appropriate Arrangement (AA) for the NCA was signed in March 2013.In pursuance of the Agreement, a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation has been constituted and held its first meeting in Mumbai on 29 November, 2013. The 2nd meeting was held in Ottawa in November 2014. On 15th April 2015, the Department of Atomic Energy signed a contract with Cameco, a Saskatoon-based Canadian company, to purchase seven million pounds of uranium concentrate over the next five years.
20. Energy Sector: Resource richCanada is well positioned as a reliable partner in India’s quest for energy security.During PM Harper’s visit toIndia in November 2012, the two sides agreed to establish an Energy Dialogue at the Ministerial-level, led by Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources.The first round of Dialogue was held in Ottawa in October 2013, which was co-chaired Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and Minister of Natural Resource Canada,Joe Oliver.As per the TOR, the Energy Dialogue will have three core pillars: Hydrocarbons, Coal, and Power &other Energy markets.The Energy Dialogue has been restructured with Minister Petroleum and Natural Gas (PNG) as the Indian co-chair.
21. A MOU on PNG cooperation between Ministry of PNGand Natural Resources Canada was concluded. In addition, an Expression of Intent on collaboration between Alberta Marketing Petroleum Commission (APMC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was also signed, creating a framework to explore the prospects of APMC selling crude to IOC under term contracts.In January 2014 IOC purchased spot cargo of 1 million barrels of conventional crude oil from Canada.Subsequently IOC acquired a 10% stake in PETRONAS LNG project through its two subsidiaries, Progress Energy and Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG).
22. Education Sector:Education is a key area of mutual interest and enhanced collaboration between India and Canada. The MOU on Cooperation in Higher Education was signed in June 2010, which covers student and faculty exchange, research and curriculum development, organization of workshop and seminars, twining between institutions of higher learning, facilitate mutual recognition of educational qualifications, policy dialogue in areas of mutual interest, among others. The JWG set up under the MOU held its first meeting in April 2013 in New Delhi.The meeting was co-chaired by Chairman of UGC, and Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, DFATD, from the Canadian side.
23. Canada has a well-developed post-secondary vocational and technical education spearheaded by the community colleges and their experience provide opportunity for collaboration that could address India’s ambitious goals of skills development. During PM Modi’s visit to Canada, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) signed MOUs with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), along with 10 of its members, in the fields of agriculture, apparel and textiles, automotive, aviation, construction, green economy, healthcare, hydrocarbons, IT, telecom and electronics, sports sector, and water. The MOU between CICan and the NSDC will support workforce planning and development and will provide advisory services in developing a technical assistance program framework to address specific capacity gaps of India’s skills development system. The association will also facilitate partnerships between its members and Indian post-secondary institution.
24. Agriculture Sector: Canada is a key supplier of India’s agricultural imports including pulses and potash. Cold chain management, animal husbandry, dryland farming, food processing technologies and agricultural sustainability are priority areas for bilateral cooperation.Ongoing collaboration in the agriculture sector takes place under the MoU on Agriculture Cooperation signed in 2009.In pursuance of the MOU a Joint Working Group has been set up whichhas led to the creation of three sub-Groups on Knowledge Exchange in Emerging Technologies; Animal Development; and Agricultural Marketing. The two sides have agreed on setting-up of the Plant Health Technical Working Group, as a sub group of the MoU on agriculture cooperation to promote trade in plants, plant products and other regulated articles by facilitating science-based discussions related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues. A Joint Working Group for Pulses has also been set up to find long-term solution to the issue of fumigation of pulses on arrival at Indian ports.India is the second largest importer of potash globally and 25% of India’s requirements of potash for use in fertilizers come from Canada.
25. Science & Technology: India-Canada S&T Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2005.Regular consultations have taken place between the two sides through the Indo-Canada Joint S&T Committee and the next meeting would be held in Ottawa in June 2015.The Indo-Canada Industrial R&D Cooperation (ICRD) was set up in 2007 to support joint industrial R&D projects.Global Innovative and Technological Alliance – GITA (a private limited company promoted jointly by CII and DST) from the Indian side and International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada – ISTP (a non-governmental organization) from the Canadian side have been engaged in executing and implementing the ICRD joint projects.GITA-ISTP Canada platform has funded several bilateral projects in priority industrial sectors such as Alternate Energy and Sustainable Environmental Technologies; Biotechnology, Health Research and Medical Devices; Earth Sciences and Disaster Management; Information and Communication Technologies (ICT); and Nanotechnology.
26. IC-IMPACTS (the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability), which is a Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence dedicated to the development of research collaborations between Canada and India, seeks to bring together researchers, industry innovators, community leaders, government agencies, and community organizations from across India and Canada to work together to find solutions to the key challenges facing the communities. IC-IMPACTS is working with the National Mission for Clean Ganga to find innovative technological solutions to clean the river Ganga; the ‘Water for Health’ collaboration with Department of Biotechnology and with DST on ‘Safe and Sustainable Infrastructure’ and ‘Integrated Water-Management’ initiatives.
27. Outer Space:India and Canada have been cooperating since 1990s, in the areas of space science, earth observation, satellite launch services and ground support for space missions.ISRO and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) have signed MOUs for cooperation in the field of exploration and utilization of outer space and two Implementation Arrangements specifically addressing satellite tracking and space astronomy.Under the implementing arrangement for cooperation in the field of satellite tracking operations, signed in December 2003, ISRO and CSA have shared services of their telemetry and tracking command (TTC) stations. The two agencies are working together on building an Ultra Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) to be flown in India’s multi-wavelength astronomical satellite ASTROSAT, which is expected to be launched in 2015.
28.India also has strong commercial relationship with Canada. ANTRIX, the Commercial arm of ISRO, has launched nine nanosatellites under a commercial arrangement with University of Toronto – Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS).ANTRIX also launched a microsatellite SAPPHIRE (commercial contract with MacDonald, Dettwiler& Associates (MDA), Canada and NEOSSat (contract with Microsat Systems, Canada) as auxiliary satellites on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) in February 2013.The PSLV-C23, which was launched in June 2014 carried two Canadian satellites, CanX-4 and CanX-5, from the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Laboratory.
29. Canada is home to over 1.2 million Persons of Indian Origin.The first Indian migration to Canada was in 1897 on the West coast of Canada with the arrival of lumber workers and labourers from Punjab for railway construction.It was only after World War II that the migration of Indians shifted towards the East coast.The second major wave of immigration to Canada started in early 1970s.The 1967 point system played a decisive role in the evolution of the profile of the Indian Diaspora in Canada.Due to point system, immigrants were selected by profession which drew doctors, engineers and academicians to Canada.Today almost 90% of the community lives in metropolitan areas in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and other major cities like Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Waterloo and Halifax. Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has the largest Indian community estimated at around 600,000 followed by Vancouver at around 300,000.It is estimated that two-thirds of Indo-Canadians are Punjabi speaking, followed by those who speak Gujarati.The Indian community is culturally active and has organized itself in various associations and groups. Many Indo-Canadians hold key positions in business enterprises, public service and other professions.The Diaspora is also well represented in federal Parliament and provincial legislatures. In the present House of Commons, there are nine Members of Parliament of Indian origin and two of them are Minister of State in the Federal Cabinet.
30. Prominent Indo-Canadian organisations include Canada India Business Council (CIBC), Canada India Foundation (CIF), Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (I-CCC) and other local chambers and associations.
31. Cultural Cooperation: In view of the large Indian Diaspora in Canada, there are number of organisations promoting Indian culture, especially performing arts. The Mission in collaboration with ICCR seeks to supplement the activities of these cultural organisations.A MOU between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ministry of Culture on Cultural Cooperation was signed in June 2010, for a period of three years. The MOU, which expired in December 2013, is under negotiations for renewal along with Canada’s proposal to hold the Year of Canada in India in 2017.