Canada-India Relations CANADA-INDIA RELATIONS
India is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa, and by consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.Canada and India have longstanding bilateral relations, built upon shared traditions of democracy and pluralism and strong interpersonal connections. The bilateral relationship is supported by a wide range of bilateral agreements in fields such as agriculture, energy, mutual legal assistance, and air services. In November 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited India and met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Both leaders also met when Prime Minister Singh visited Canada in June 2010. Among issues discussed were bilateral, regional, and global issues of common interest.
In November 2009, the Prime Ministers of Canada and India set a combined annual trade target of CDN$ 15 billion (up from just under CDN$ 5 billion in 2009) to be reached by 2015.
Canada and India maintain a dialogue on regional security and global strategic issues of common interest through the annual Canada-India Strategic Dialogue and through regular meetings of the Canada-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, as well as annual Foreign Policy Consultations.
Trade and Investment
India is a vital trade partner for Canada. Canada’s commerce strategy for India involves the coordination of efforts by Canada's missions in India, federal government departments, provinces, and the private sector. This strategy has defined priority sectors to increase two-way trade, investment and technology partnerships. These priority sectors include: education, clean technologies (including renewable energy), information and communications technology and infrastructure.
According to Statistics Canada, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and India in 2010 totalled approximately C$4.2 billion, an increase of 46.6 percent since 2005.
While Canadian merchandise exports to India in 2010 totalled C$2.1 billion (a 2.7 percent decrease from 2009), imports from India reached C$2.1 billion (a 6.0 percent increase from 2009). Despite the small decrease in Canadian exports to India in 2010, exports to India have increased by 92.2 percent since 2005.
Top Canadian exports to India include vegetables (mostly peas and lentils), fertilisers, paper and paperboard, machinery, wood pulp, precious stones, and iron and steel. Canadian imports from India include organic chemicals, precious stones and metals, knit apparel, woven apparel, machinery, and iron and steel.
Canada and India signed a Canada-India Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation in November 2005 to foster greater bilateral S&T collaboration in five priority areas. Under this Agreement and fostered by a Joint Committee on S&T which meets annually, the five priority sectors are: nanoscience and nanomedicine; information and communications technology; biotechnology, health research and medical devices; sustainable and alternative energy and environmental technologies; and earth sciences and disaster management. From 2005 to 2010, joint funding from Canada and India for S&T collaboration totalled C$13.5 million.
Environment and Energy
The two countries have established the Canada-India Forum for Environmental Collaboration in order to work more closely together on key global environmental issues, including climate change. Canada and India also initiated a Canada India Energy Forum following the signing of the energy Memorandum of Understanding in November 2009.
Immigration and Visas
India is currently the second largest source country of immigrants to Canada, with a rapidly growing Indo-Canadian community estimated to be nearing one million.
Recently, fast-track processes have been instituted to expedite processing of visas for designated business travellers and students applying to designated publicly-funded post-secondary colleges and universities in Canada. The Business Express program is able to approve over 99% of applications, most within two working days. Partly as a result of the Student Partners program, the number of students who received student permits in 2010 increased more than three-fold in just two years, from 3,250 in 2008 to 11,530 in 2010..
In support of Canada’s growing engagement with India, the Government of Canada is committed to consulting regularly with all Canadian stakeholders: provinces and territories; municipalities; non-governmental organizations; the private sector; civil society and the Canadian public. To seek input from these various groups, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) regularly convenes a multi-sectoral group entitled "Focus India." These meetings help DFAIT to broaden considerations related to Canada’s policy and programming approach to Canada-India relations.
After 55 years of bilateral programming in India totalling C$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, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) continues to provide assistance to India through partnerships between Indian and Canadian NGOs and multilateral programs. In addition, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, to support local projects in India focusing on gender equality, human rights, and good governance. For further details see the “Development Cooperation” link on the left hand side of this page.