Foreign Policy Watch: India-Canada

Countdown to greater India-Canada convergence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level : Paper 2- India-China relations and increasing convergence

Track 1.5 dialogue

  •  The third round of India-Canada Track 1.5 Dialogue, comprising senior diplomats, officials and independent experts, will be held on a virtual platform.
  • This promising interaction represents a major, deliberate endeavour to boost the bilateral relationship.

Convergence on China issue

  • Common challenges of the COVID-19 era accelerated the momentum of bilateral engagement.
  • Canada’s travails with China, starting with the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada in December 2018.
  • Later, the ‘hostage diplomacy’ practised by Beijing which arrested two Canadian nationals, has caused huge stress in Canada-China relations, turning Canadian public opinion against China.
  • This opened the door to a closer relationship with India.
  • In this backdrop, developments concerning the Indo-Pacific —  strengthening of the Quad and the growing interest of France, Netherlands and Germany to be active players in the region — are of immense relevance to Ottawa.
  • The forthcoming dialogue can deepen the India-Canada convergence on this issue.

Principal area’s of bilateral cooperation

  • Canada-India merchandise trade exceeded C$10 billion in 2019.
  • Canada’s cumulative investment, including foreign direct investment and by Canadian pension funds, is a substantive C$55 billion.
  • Addressing virtually the ‘Invest India’ conference in Canada on  Prime Minister pointed out that mature Canadian investors have been present in India for many years and assured them that no barriers would come in their way.
  • Indian students are increasingly being educated in Canada, and a quarter million of them spent an estimated $5 billion in tuition fees and other expenses last year, a solid contribution to the Canadian economy.
  • Of 330,000 new immigrants accepted by Canada last year, 85,000 i.e. nearly 25%, were from India.
  • The Indian diaspora in Canada is now 1.6 million-strong, representing over 4% of the country’s total population.
  • The principal areas of bilateral cooperation are best defined by five Es: Economy, Energy, Education, Entertainment and Empowerment of women.
  • In particular, the digital domain holds immense potential, given Canada’s proven assets in technology — especially its large investment in Artificial Intelligence, innovation and capital resources, and India’s IT achievements, expanding digital payment architecture and policy modernisation.

Conclusion

Divided by geographical distance but united through clear common interests and shared values, India and Canada will begin their steady journey of progress, this time with a laser-like focus on common goals as well.

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