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Canada and India have longstanding bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and strong interpersonal connections. Canada is home to one of the largest communities of Indian origin, with approximately 4% of Canadians being of Indian heritage (1.4 million people).
The deep cultural and political ties between Canada and India are strengthened by a growing network of official dialogues, agreements, memoranda of understanding and working groups. At the Ministerial level, Canada and India enjoy a strategic partnership underpinned by Ministerial Dialogues on:
- foreign policy
- trade and investment
At the officials level, there are regular working groups that focus on:
- science and technology
In India, Canada is represented by the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi. Canada also has Consulates General in Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai, as well as trade offices in Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. In addition, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a significant presence in India; the High Commission in New Delhi is in fact home to Canada’s largest visa office abroad.
India is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and by consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.
A priority market for Canada, India is Canada’s 11th largest export market, and 12th largest trading partner overall. Canada’s commercial priorities in India are targeted at India’s policy objectives and sectors where Canada has a comparative advantage. These priorities include:
- supporting India’s energy security ambitions through increased exports of conventional and nuclear energy as well as clean and renewable energy technology;
- helping India meet its substantial urban and transportation infrastructure needs through provision of financing, equipment, technology and engineering services;
- enhanced education and skills training through greater collaboration between Canadian and Indian educational and technical skills institutions;
- commercial research and development to drive innovation in such sectors as information and communications technologies;
- increased exports of food products and fertilizers to support India’s food security needs.
Canada and India are working toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). Canada and India hold Ministerial Dialogues on trade and investment.
Canada also has an advanced suite of bilateral agreements and MOUs with India that touch on commerce, including:
- Nuclear cooperation
- Double taxation
- Science and technology
- Civil aviation
- Road transportation
- Information and communications technologies
In 2019, India was the largest source of international students for Canada’s universities, colleges and schools.
After 55 years of bilateral programming in India totaling $2.39 billion, Canada’s bilateral development assistance program came to an end in 2006 following a change in Indian government policy regarding aid. However, Global Affairs Canada continues to provide development assistance to India through Indian and Canadian Non-Governmental Organizations, and through multilateral mechanisms such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
As of March 2021, Canada invested nearly $24 million in 2018-2019 to support 75 projects in India via Grand Challenges Canada. The main programming sector of the Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch is maternal, newborn and child health, which includes support to early childhood development. In 2016–2017, Canada contributed approximately $23.4 million to India through long-term institutional support to multilateral organizations. Canadian funding supports key organizations active in India including the Micronutrient Initiative, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Population Fund and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Key organizations supported by Canada that are active in India include Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and Nutrition International. Key sectors supported in India by Global Affairs Canada through multilateral funding include: sustainable economic development, treatment of infectious diseases, and nutrition.
IDRC continues to have an active presence in India with projects focusing on the links between climate change and migration; the reduction of violence against vulnerable populations; women’s rights, security and access to justice; economic opportunities for Indian workers, especially women; and improving food security. Since 1974, IDRC has programmed $143 million in India.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and India work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- Pacific Alliance
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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