[Answered] Discuss the economic and strategic significance of India – Canada relations.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some economic and strategic significance of India – Canada relations.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Canada was among the first countries associated with India’s nuclear programme, but the relationship ruptured after India’s nuclear tests in 1974. Canada and India have longstanding bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and strong interpersonal connections. This is complemented by economic engagement, regular high-level interactions and long-standing people-to-people ties.

Economic significance:

  • Canada’s search for new markets to diversify its considerable economic engagement with China coincides with India’s push to conclude free trade agreements with many countries.
  • India and Canada have agreed to formally re-launch the negotiations for the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
  • They will also consider signing an Interim Agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) that could bring early commercial gains to both countries.
  • Total bilateral trade between India and Canada including goods and services crossed $11 billion.
  • India is Canada’s 9th largest export market. India exports include gems, jewellery and precious stones, pharmaceutical products, readymade garments, light engineering goods, iron & steel articles, etc.
  • Indian companies have invested especially in the IT, software, steel and natural resources sectors.

Strategic significance:

  • India welcomed the announcement of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy which calls India an important partner. It marked out China as an “increasingly disruptive global power”, while referring to India as a “critical partner” with shared traditions of democracy and pluralism.
  • There are concerns over the resurgence of Khalistani separatism and calls for a “referendum” amid the Sikh community in Canada as well as incidents of vandalism and violence targeting the Indian community there.

There is enough potential for both, India and Canada to boost the cooperation and take their relations to next level. But it requires Canadian effort by widening their Indian perspective. This can happen if India by diverting the talks from politically contentious issues

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