India-Canada Bilateral Brief Bilateral Relations

India-Canada Bilateral Brief

High Commission of India
Ottawa

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India-Canada Bilateral Relations

Overview

1. India-Canada bilateral ties are underpinned by shared values of democracy, pluralism, expanding economic engagement, regular high level interactions and long-standing people-to-people ties.

2. Our bilateral ties with Canada have witnessed strategically significant transformation during our Prime Minister’s visit to Canada from 14-16 April 2015. He visited Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. He held extensive discussions with Canada’s political, business and academic leaders and also addressed some 10,000 PIO’s & friends of India, at Toronto on 15th April.

3. 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 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.

4. The Indian side 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. Electronic Tourist Visa(Etv) and 10-year visas were announced for Canadian nationals (Both of which have since been introduced).

5. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid his first State Visit to India from 18 to 24 February 2018 at the invitation of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

6. During the visit, both side reaffirmed the breadth and scope of Canada-India relations, based on the fundamental principle of respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the two countries. Both side emphasised on the commitment to the ongoing diversification and growth of the strategic partnership, based on shared values of democracy, diversity, pluralism, and rule of law.

7. Prime Minister Trudeau was accompanied by 6 Federal Ministers and 13 parliamentarians. During the visit, India and Canada signed six documents which will increase our cooperation in areas such as education, sport, intellectual property, information and communication technology, as well as science and innovation in civil nuclear cooperation.

8. Both Prime Ministers had informally interacted (pull aside) during G-7 Summit at Biarritz, France on 26 August 2019. Prime Minister Modi sent a letter of congratulations to PM Trudeau on the success achieved in the federal elections held on 21 October 2019.

Other High-level Exchanges

9. Other High-level Exchanges: There have been a series of high-level visits and meetings of bilateral mechanisms.

10. Since 2019

i Former Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper visited India (6-13 January 2019 & 8-17 January 2020) for Raisina Dialogue and as a part of trade delegation of Saskatchewan, Canada (18-20 November 2019).

ii Mr. John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada visited India (11-13 November 2019).

iii Mr. Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Trade and Export Development, Minister of Immigration and Career Training of Saskatchewan visited India with a trade delegation (18-22 November 2019).

iv Mr. Victor Fedeli, Ontario Minister for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade visited India (November 16-23, 2019).

11. From India,

i Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation visited Montreal from 24 September to 4 October 2019 to attend 40th Session of International Civil Aviation Organisation.

ii Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister (EAM) visited Ottawa on 19-20 December 2019. During his visit, he met Prime Minister Trudeau, Foreign Minister Francois and Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade.

Parliamentary Exchanges

12. Four Members of Parliament (MP) from Canada participated in the first-ever PIOs Parliamentary Conference held in New Delhi in January, 2018. Ms. Viplove Thakur, MP, Rajya Sabha and Dr. Kirit Solanki, MP, Lok Sabha visited Ottawa from 22-23 October 2018 to attend 7th International Parliamentarians Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. A 5-member Indian delegation comprising members from Lok Sabha Secretariat, Assam and Uttrakhand Legislative Assemblies attended the CPA Mid-Year Executive Committee Meeting in Ottawa from 11-15 April 2019.

13. Speaker of Lok Sabha Shri Om Birla along with Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Shri Harivansh Narayan Singh visited Canada from 5-12 January 2020 to participate in the 25th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Commonwealth (CSPOC) held in Ottawa. On the margins of CSPOC, Speaker met Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, Anthony Rota; and Speaker of Senate of Canada, George J. Furey and invited him to lead a Parliamentary exchange delegation to India.

Parliamentary Friendship Group

14. As Westminster style democracies, India and Canada share commonalities in Parliamentary structure and procedures. After general election in October 2019, Mr. Raj Saini, MP from the House of Common has been appointed as the Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Association. The last such group had 80 members and there have been parliamentary exchanges in the past.

Bilateral Mechanisms

15. Both sides pursue bilateral relations through the dialogue mechanisms such as Ministerial level- Strategic, Trade and Energy dialogues; Foreign Office Consultations; and other sector specific joint working groups (JWG). The following bilateral dialogue mechanisms have met during 2018-19:

i Joint Working Group (JWG) on Higher Education (26-28 February 2019)

ii 16th JWG on Counter Terrorism (26-27 March 2019).

iii Joint Committee Meeting on Civil Nuclear (6-7 June 2019)

iv Inaugural edition of Consular Dialogue with Canada (30 September -1 October 2019)

16. India-Canada Strategic Dialogue co-chaired by former EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj and her Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland was held on 22 February 2018 on the sidelines of PMJT visit. EAM also met the then Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on the margins of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (June 2019); Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ meeting in London, UK (July 2019); and EAS Foreign Ministers’ meeting (August 2019).

People-to-People

17. Canada hosts one of the largest Indian diasporas in the world, numbering 1.6 million (PIOs and NRIs) which account for more than 3% of its total population. The diaspora, whose main concentration are in the Greater Toronto area, the Greater Vancouver area, Montreal (Quebec), Calgary (Alberta), Ottawa (Ontario) and Winnipeg (Manitoba) has done commendably well in every sector in Canada. In the field of politics, in particular, the present House of Commons (total strength of 338) has 22 Members of Parliament of Indian-origin. This includes Four (04) Ministers in the Cabinet, including Minister of Defence Mr. Harjit S. Sajjan; Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Mr. Navdeep Bains; Ms. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth; and Ms Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

18. Prominent Indo-Canadian organizations include Canada India Business Council (CIBC), Canada India Foundation (CIF), Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (I-CCC) and other local chambers and associations.

19. Air India has started its direct flight Amritsar-Delhi-Toronto from 27 September 2019. Air Canada operates direct flight to Mumbai from Toronto in addtion to Delhi-Toronto and Delhi-Vancouver. non-stop flights.

Economic Relations

20. Bilateral trade amounted to USD 6.3 billion in 2018-19 (as per DOC) which is well below the potential of two countries growing relations.

21. Canadian Pension Funds have cumulatively pledged to invest around US$ 42.5 billion in India and are increasingly viewing India as an attractive destination for investments.

22. More than 400 Canadian companies have a presence in India, and more than 1,000 companies are actively pursuing business in the Indian market. Indian companies in Canada are active in the field such as Information Technology, software, steel, natural resources and banking sectors. Notable Indian companies which have invested in Canada include ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Mahindra Tractors, Tata Steel Minerals Canada, Tata Consultancy Services, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Communications, Zee Group, Aditya Birla Group, Jubilant Life Sciences, Infosys Technologies Limited, Tech Mahindra, ESSAR Steel Algoma Inc., IFFCO Canada Enterprise Ltd., Abellon Energy Inc., Wipro Technologies,Prime Focus World and Polaris Financial Technologies.

23. Major items of India's exports to Canada include gems, jewelry and precious stones, pharmaceutical products, ready-made garments, mechanical appliances, organic chemicals, light engineering goods, iron & steel articles, etc. India’s imports from Canada include pulses, roots & tubers, newsprint, wood pulp, asbestos, potash, iron scrap, copper, minerals and industrial chemicals, etc.

CEPA & BIPPA

24. India and Canada are discussing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Partnership Agreement (BIPPA/FIPA). The 4th Annual Trade Ministerial Dialogue was held on 13 November 2017 in New Delhi. Canadian Minister of International Trade Mr. Francois Philippe Champagne and Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Suresh Prabhu chaired the meeting. The last round of CEPA negotiation was held in Ottawa on February 7-8, 2018, while the last round of BIPPA negotiation was held in New Delhi in November 2017.

Energy Cooperation

25. Energy has been a primary area of our focus, considering that Canada is an ‘energy superpower’ with one of the world’s largest resources of uranium, natural gas, oil, coal, minerals and advanced technologies in hydropower, mining, renewable energy and nuclear energy. The last India and Canada Ministerial level Energy Dialogue was held in New Delhi on 8 September 2016. During the visit of PMJT in February 2018, the scope of the Energy Dialogue was expanded to additionally include electricity, energy efficiency and renewable. India Oil Coorporation has a 10% participating interest in a Liquid Natural Gas project in British Columbia.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation

26. A Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with Canada was signed in June 2010 and came into force in September 2013.The Appropriate Arrangement (AA) for the NCA was signed in March 2013, under which a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation was constituted. During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada (April 2015), Department of Atomic Energy and M/S CAMECO Inc. signed an agreement for supply of uranium ore concentrate to India in 2015-2020. Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission held discussion with Mr. Jay Khosla, Canadian Assitant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources on 17 September 2019 during IAEA General Conference in Vienna.

27. India’s AREB singed an Arrangement with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on 16 September 2015 to exchange experiences and developments in nuclear safety and regulatory issues.

28. An MOU between the Department of Atomic Energy, India and the Department of Natural Resources of Canada concerning cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation was signed during the visit of PMJT in February 2018.

29. Under the Agreement signed between India and Canada for “Cooperation in Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy” in 2010, a joint committee to oversee the implementation of the agreement was constituted.

Science and Technology

30. Indo-Canadian S&T cooperation has been primarily focussed on promoting Industrial R&D which has potential for application through development of new IP, processes, prototypes or products.

31. Canada was a partner country for the Technology Summit 2017, held in New Delhi on 14-15 November 2017. The 6th Meeting of Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee was held in New Delhi on 15 November 2017. The Committee was chaired by Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada (NSERC) of Canada. Both side reviewed the status of ongoing activities and finalized the Action Plan for 2017-18 which envisages collaboration in the emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Nano-technology, 3D printing, etc.

32. Under the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) program between DST and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada (NSERC) Canada, ten projects are under implementation in the areas of Safe and Sustainable Infrastructure, Energy conservation and Integrated Water Management. DST has been also supporting Industrial R&D projects with Canada which have potential for application. IC-IMPACTS organised the second India-Canada Science and Technology Innovation Dialogue on 9 December 2019 in New Delhi Dialogue to strengthen Canada-India scientific research collaborations leading to community deployments and commercialization, particularly in cleaning polluted water bodies and generating wealth from waste in India.

33. Mitacs, Canada and Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) are implementing a Student research internship program launched in 2018.

34. DST and NSERC launched a bilateral entrepreneurship program, with a focus on women entrepreneurs, in partnership with Mumbai-based Zone Startups and Ryerson Futures inc, Canada on 20 February 2018. The program is jointly funded by Canada and (DST) India, under the aegis of the Canada-India Science and Technology Agreement.

35. Department of Earth Science and Polar Canada have started a programme for exchange of knowledge and scientific research on Cold Climate (Arctic) Studies. A group of scientists from National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa visited Canada’s Arctic Research Station, Cambridge Bay in September-October 2019. A Memorandum of Cooperation between NCPOR and POLAR, Canada is being negotiated.

Biotechnology

36. Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under IC-IMPACTS program implements joint research projects in health care, agri-biotech and waste management. Under “Mission Innovation” program, India is collaborating with Canada in various activities in the areas of Sustainable Biofuels (IC4). The Biotechnology industry Research Assistance Council, DBT and Canada are working under Grand Challenges Canada (GC Canada) Programme which funds innovations focusing on maternal and child health.

Information Technology

37. A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Information and Communication Technology and Electronics (ICTE) was signed in 2012 for 5 years. A JWG on ICTE was set up and the last meeting held in October 2015. Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development met Minister of Electronics and Information Technology on the margins of Technology Summit on 13th November 2017. As agreed in the meeting to renew the MoU in ICTE, a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) for cooperation in the field of ICTE was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Trudeau in February 2018.

Space

38. India and Canada are pursuing successful cooperative and commercial relations in the field of Space since 1990s mainly on space science, earth observation, satellite launch services and ground support for space missions. ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has signed two MOU in the field of exploration and utilisation of outer space in October 1996 and March 2003, under which two implementing Arrangements specifically addressing satellite tracking and space astronomy were signed. ANTRIX, the Commercial arm of ISRO, has launched several nanosatellites from Canada. ISRO in its 100th Satellite PSLV launched on 12 January 2018, also flew Canadian first LEO satellite, from Indian spaceport Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Education

39. Education is a key area of mutual interest. Recently India became the top source of foreign students with 203000 Indian students studying in Canada. There are about 300 MoUs between institutions of higher learning in India and Canada.

40. The MoU on Higher Education (2010) with Canada was renewed in February 2018. Under this MoU, 2nd Joint Working Group meeting was held on 26-28 February 2019 in Ottawa to oversee and implement the MoU. Both side agreed to expand the collaboration in the areas of student and faculty mobility. Canada has agreed to help in identifying one Institute / University to host the Chair on Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, on the occasion of his 550th Birth Anniversary.

41. 69 reputed Canadian faculty members have visited India, so far under the Global Initiative of Academic Works (GIAN) programme for teaching assignments in Indian institutions. Canada is one of the 28 countries covered under the Scheme for promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), an initiative aiming to improve research ecosystems in India’s higher education institutions.

42. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) is a unique bi-national organization fostering, since 1968, education and cultural cooperation and collaboration between India and Canada. A consortium of 120 universities and institutions of higher learning and research with offices in India and Canada.

43. Chair on Guru Nanak Devji in Canadian University: As part of commemoration of 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak dev ji, it was decided by GOI to set up a Chair on Guru Nanak Dev ji in a Canadian University.

Defence

44. India and Canada collaborate closely in international fora, particularly through the UN, Commonwealth and G-20. Defence ties have been strengthen in recent times. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has signed a MoU for cooperation with Canada’s York University (signed in November 2012), which focuses on biological and chemical warfare and sensors. A Statement of Intent (SoI) on Cooperation between DRDO and Canada’s Defence Research and Development Council was signed in January 2015. Both sides have identified nodal points for implementation of the SoI. A MoU between DRDO and CCC for development of military and defence related technology, infrastructure, training and services was signed on 5 October 2016. A team of DRDO visited Ottawa on 2-4 December 2019 to discuss project involving Canadian Defence suppliar.

45. Indian army (an officer from Winter Warfare School, Gulmarg) participated in the Canadian Army Winter training at Valcartier, Quebec (3-5 February 2016). Canadian Navy participated in the International Fleet Review in Vishakhapatnam (4-8 February 2016). Canadian ship HMCS Winnipeg made a port visit in May 2017.

46. Shri Manohar Parrikar, the then Defence Minister of India, met Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on the sidelines on Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on 3 June 2016. Canada’s defence minister Harjit S Sajjan visited India in April 2017 and met the then Minister of Defence, Shri Arun Jaitley and former EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj. Former Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre held a bilateral meeting with Canadian defence minister on the margins of UNKPDM on 14 November 2017 in Vancouver.

Security Cooperation

47. The two countries have signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in 1994 (operationalised in 1998) and Extradition Treaty in 1987. The Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism was set up in 1997. There is substantial engagement on counter terrorism issues particularly through the framework of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism. The security cooperation was further enhanced with the Framework for Cooperation between India and Canada on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism signed by the National Security Advisor of India and the National Security and Intelligence Advisor of Canada on 14 February 2018. The 16th JWG on Counter-Terrorism was held in Ottawa from 26-27 March 2019. A delegation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) visited India from 12-16 January 2020 and held discussions with Indian agencies on counter-terrorism issues.

Agriculture

48. The bilateral MoU on agriculture cooperation was signed at the federal level in 2009. A Joint Working Group has been set up under the MoU. The first meeting of the JWG was held in New Delhi in 2010, which led to the creation of three sub-groups on knowledge exchange in emerging technologies; animal development and agricultural marketing. The fifth (5) round of JWG on Agriculture was held on 13-14 November 2017. A Joint Working Group for Pulses has been set up separately. A team from Canadian Food Inspection Agency visited India in December 2018 for verification of organic system of India.

FSI-CFSI Cooperation

49. The cooperation between Foreign Service Institutes of both countries has seen positive momentum with Canada’s Foreign Service Institute (CFSI) trainers imparting three days training program in Bilateral & Multilateral Negotiation and Diplomacy and Global Affairs including Canada’s Foreign Policy Approach to Indian diplomats at FSI, New Delhi from 20-23 January 2020.

Consular Access

50. Recognizing the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, both sides agreed to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion during Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to India. The First India-Canada Consular Dialogue was held in Ottawa on 30 September & 01 October 2019.

51. India-Canada has established a Track 1.5 Dialogue on involving experts, government officials and business leaders from both sides to explore the possibility of future cooperation. The first round was held in October 2018. The second round was held on 22 November 2019 in Mumbai.

Cultural Exchanges

52. Given that people-to-people ties form the bedrock of the India-Canada relationship, cultural exchanges remain vital. Canada was the Country of Focus at the 48th International Film Festival of India held in Goa in November 2017. Eight (08) Canadian films were screened at the Festival. There is also an India - Canada Co-production Agreement in films. For the first time, Canada Post and India Post joined hands to issue a commemorative stamp on Diwali in 2017.

53. Diwali has been celebrated on the Parliament Hill for the last 18 years. The 19th Diwali on Hill event in October 2019 was attended by more than 400 persons including Mr. Andrew Scheer, Leader of Opposition and 8 Members of Parliament.

54. A number of events to mark the celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi are being held since October 2018 and will continue till October 2020. Mayor of Ottawa has proclaimed 02 October as Gandhi Day. A number of activities to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji were also held in November 2019.

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February 2020