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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, in 2022, India was Canada’s 9th largest trading partner. India will be a key partner as Canada strengthens its economic links to the Indo-Pacific under a new, comprehensive strategy for the region. Canada and India are working toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), and are committed to regularly holding Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment to explore ways to deepen the commercial relationship.
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
- Information and communications technologies
Canada’s commercial priorities in India are targeted at the country’s policy objectives and sectors where Canada has a comparative advantage. These priorities include:
- supporting India’s energy security and environmental ambitions through increased exports of renewable energy and clean technology, with a focus on bioenergy, wind, hydro and solar, as well as water and sewage treatment;
- helping India meet its substantial urban and transportation infrastructure needs for roads, rail, airports, ports, dams and services segments through the provision of financing, equipment, technology and engineering services;
- promoting commercial research and development and collaboration to drive innovation in sectors such as information and communications technologies, science, technology and innovation, digital industries, artificial intelligence, deep technology, machine learning and internet of things (IoT);
- increasing the exports of food products and fertilizers to support India’s food security needs with a focus on value-added products and expertise in food supply and cold chain management;
- focussing on opportunities for Canadian partnerships as suppliers in the Life Sciences sector to support India’s industry-leading presence in the pharmaceutical sector;
- integrating Canadian companies into India’s automotive supply chains
Since 2018, India has been the largest source country for international students in Canada. Engagement with India in education is a priority for Canada, with a focus on enhanced education and skills training through greater collaboration between Canadian and Indian educational and technical skills institutions.
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.
In FY 2021-2022 Canada invested nearly $76 million to support 52 international assistance projects in India. Canada’s funding primarily focused on sustainable economic development, the treatment of infectious diseases, nutrition, and renewable energy projects in vulnerable communities. Canadian funding supports civil society partners 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 multilateral organizations supported by Canada that are active in India include the 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.
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 638 activities worth $152.2 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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