India-Canada Bilateral Brief Bilateral Relations

India-Canada Bilateral Brief

High Commission of India


India - Canada Relations

1. India-Canada share a strategic partnership underpinned by shared values of democracy and pluralism.

2. At the political level, the relations in recent years have been marked by regular high level interactions. Over the years an array of institutional mechanisms have been put in place to promote bilateral cooperation.

3. Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited India in 2003 and PM Paul Martin in 2005. PM Stephen Harper paid an official visit to India from 15-18 November 2009. PM Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Toronto from 25-26 June 2010 to attend the G-20 Summit, when a bilateral component was also added on 27th June. PM Stephen Harper paid an official visit to India in November 2012. Governor General David Johnston, paid a state visit to India from 22 February to 2 march 2014, covering New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

4. PM Modi’s bilateral visit to Canada on April 14-16, 2015 was historic. It resulted in the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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).

7. On 21st October 2015, PM Modi called to congratulate Mr. Justin Trudeau on his election as the Prime Minister of Canada. PM invited him to pay an official visit to India. PM Modi met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the margins of the Nuclear Safety Summit in Washington D.C. on March 31/1st April 2016. PM Justin Trudeau had a telephone conversation with PM Modi on June 19, 2017. PM Modi also congratulated PM Trudeau on the 150th anniversary of Canada as a Federation. Both leaders also discussed issues of mutual interest. They also met on the margins of the G-20 summit in Hamburg on 7th July, 2017 and at the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos on January 23, 2018.

8. PM Justin Trudeau paid a state visit to India on February 17 -24, 2018, with February 23, 2018 being the main day for bilateral /multilateral meetings in New Delhi. He also visited Agra, Gujarat, Mumbai, Chandigarh. He was accompanied by Mr. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; Mr. Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence; Ms. Bardish Chaggar, Minister of Small Busiess and Tourism; Mr. Amarjit Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, etc. During the visit, both sides signed the following agreements :

(i) Joint Declaration of Intent between Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India and the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada on Cooperation in the Fields of Information, Communications, Technology and Electronics;

(ii) Terms of Reference for the India-Canada Ministerial Energy Dialogue between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of India and the Department of Natural Resources of Canada;

(iii) MoU between the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and the Department of Canadian Heritage on Cooperation in Sport;

(iv) MoU between Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office concerning Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights;

(v) MoU on Cooperation in Higher Education;

(vi) MoU between the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Natural Resources of Canada concerning Cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Recent High-level Visits from India to Canada:

  • Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, MOS for Commerce & Industry to attend the 3rd Annual Trade Ministers' Dialogue on 28 -30th September, 2016;
  • Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister for Financial Dialogue in Toronto on October 2 -5, 2016;
  • Dr. Arvind Gupta, Deputy NSA and Secretary, National Security Council Secretariat for the 3rd India- Canada Security Dialogue in Ottawa on 24 -27 January, 2017;
  • Shri Ravi Thapar, Additional Secretary(CT) to attend the Joint Working Group Meeting on Counter Terrorism on 21st February, 2017;
  • Mr. B.V. Sudhakar, Secretary(Posts), Ministry of Communications, GOI ; Ottawa/Toronto on 13 -17th February 2017
  • Smt. Preeti Saran,Secretary(East)/Sh. Munu Mahawar, JSAMS), MEA visited Toronto and Ottawa from July 10-13, 2017
  • Shri Chaudhary Rao Birender Singh, Union Minister for Steel visited Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg, on July 9 -14, 2017
  • Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, accompanied with Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, JS, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change visited Montreal on September 14-16 to attend the Climate Change Conference.
  • Chief Justice of India, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra led a judicial delegation from India comprising Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph, Mr. Justice R.K. Agrawal, and Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Mr. P.S. Narasimha, Additional Solictor General and Mr. Ravindra Maithani, Secretary General of the Supreme Court of India to participate at the Sixth Indo-Canadian Legal Forum Meeting on October 15 -18, 2017.
  • A three-member delegation comprising Shri Sharad Tripathi, Hon’ble MP (LS), Shri Mangubhai C. Patel, Member of Legislative Assembly, Gujarat and Shri S. Rajendran, Chief Government Whip, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, represented India at the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Seminar organized the 14th CPA Canada Parliamentary Seminar in Ottawa from 15-21 October, 2017.
  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis visited Montreal, Quebec from June 10 -13, 2018 to attend the International Economic Forum of the Americas "Conference De Montreal".
  • Shri Prakash Javadekar, Hon'ble Minister for HRD visited Vancouver to attend the World Sanskrit Conference 2018, on July 8 -13, 2018.
  • Recent High-level Visits from Canada to India:
  • Minister for Natural Resources, Jim Carr visited India for the Energy Dialogue on 8th September, 2016;
  • Minister for Infrastructure and Communities Aarjit Sohi led the Vibrant Gujarat delegation on January 5 -12, 2017;
  • Minister for International Trade Mr. Francois Philippe Champagne visited India on 3rd March, 2017.
  • Minister for Agriculture and Agri Food, Lawrene MacAulay visited India on March 10 -11, 2017;
  • Mr. Ian Shugart, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs -27 Feb till 1st March, 2017
  • Ms. Bardish Chagger, Government House Leader in the House of Commons, and Minister of Small Business and Tourism from March 23 to 31, 2017
  • Mr. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Defence Minister from April 17 to 23, 2017
  • Mr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister of Global Affairs visited India on October 25 -26, 2017.
  • Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Mr. Navdeep Bains Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau and Minister of International Trade Mr. Francois Philippe Champagne visited India for the India-Canada Technology Summit on November 13 -17, 2017.
  • FM Chrystia Freeland spoke to EAM on telephone on April 18, 2018 and 13 August 2018.
  • Visit of Mr. Jason Kenney, Leader of Opposition in Alberta from 17-23 September 2018.
  • Visit of Mr. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party from 6-14 October 2018.
  • Mr. Scott Ryan Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan visited India (Delhi and Mumbai) from 24-30 November 2018.

Cooperation in Security and Defence:

9. India and Canada collaborate closely in international fora, particularly through the UN, Commonwealth and G-20. Defence ties have been expanding with mutual ship visits. There is robust cooperation on counter terrorism issues particularly through the framework of the JWG on Counter Terrorism. India-Canada Strategic Dialogue was held on 22 February 2018 in New Delhi and co-chaired by EAM and her Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland. The first NSA-level Dialogue was held in New Delhi on 14 February 2018.

Trade and Economy:

10. Bilateral trade between India and Canada was worth US$7.23 billion in 2017-18. India’s exports to Canada during this period were US$ 2.51 billion and imports from Canada were US$ 4.72 billion. Canadian Pension Funds have invested approx. US$ 12.6 billion in India till now and are increasingly viewing India as an attractive destination for investments. 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 sectors such as Information Technology, steel, natural resources and banking. 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 and Indian Oil Corporation, Aditya Birla Group, Jibilant DraxImage Inc., Infosys Technologies Limited, Tech Mahindra, ESSAR Steel Algoma Inc., IFFCO Canada Enterprise Ltd., Abellon Energy Inc., WIPRO Technologies and Prime Focus World.

Major Items of Indian Exports to Canada and Indian Imports from Canada:

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


12. 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. During the meeting, both sides expressed their strong commitment for early finalization of a progressive, balanced and mutually beneficial CEPA and BIPPA. 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.

13. An India - Canada CEO's Forum was constituted in 2013 to improve bilateral trade and investment flows. The Forum identified natural resources, infrastructure, education, information and communication technology and financial services as priority sectors.

Canada - India Parliamentary Friendship Group:

14. The Canadian Parliament has constituted a Canada- India Parliamentary Friendship Group (CIPEG) with over 80 MPs from both Houses of Parliament cutting across party lines. A six member (MPs/Senators) Canadian Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation visited India on September 10 -14, 2016. Four (04) MPs from Canada participated in the first-ever PIOs Parliamentary Conference held in New Delhi in January, 2018.

Cooperation in Energy Sector:

15. Nuclear Energy: 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. On 15th April 2015, the Department of Atomic Energy signed a $350 million contract with Cameco, a Saskatoon-based company, to purchase 7 million pounds of uranium concentrate over the next 5 years. The first three shipments arrived in India in December 2015, December 2016 and December 2017.

Energy Dialogue:

16. Canadian Minister for Natural Resources Jim Carr visited New Delhi for India – Canada Energy Dialogue on September 7 - 9, 2016. A MoU on PNG cooperation between Ministry of PNG and NRC Canada was concluded. In addition, an Expression of Intent on collaboration between Alberta Marketing Petroleum Commission (APMC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was also signed, creating a framework to explore the prospects of APMC selling crude to IOC under term contracts. OIC has a 10% participating interest in an LNG project in British Columbia.

Terms of Reference for the India-Canada Ministerial Energy Dialogue between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Department of Natural Resources of Canada was signed during PMJT's visit to India in February 2018.

Education Sector:

17. Over 124,000 Indian students currently study in Canada. Education is a key area of collaboration between the two countries. The MOU on Cooperation in Higher Education was signed in June 2010, which covers student and faculty exchanges, research and curriculum development, organization of workshops and seminars, twining between institutions of higher learning, facilitate mutual recognition of educational qualifications, policy dialogue in areas of mutual interest, among others. The MoU has recently been renewed during PMTJ's state visit to India in February 2018. The finalization of dates for holding the second meeting of JWG on Higher Education between the two countries is under consideration of MHRD.

18. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, headquartered at the University of Calgary, has been in existence for the last 50 years which promotes academic partnerships between 117 institutions in both India and Canada.

19. IC-IMPACTS (the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability), which is a Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence dedicated to the development of research collaborations between Canada and India, seeks to bring together researchers, industry innovators, community leaders, government agencies, and community organizations from across India and Canada to work together to find solutions to the key challenges facing the communities. So far, it has funded 38 projects which have yielded 32 patents. IC-IMPACTS is working with the National Mission for Clean Ganga to find innovative technological solutions to clean the river Ganga; the 'Water for Health' collaboration with Department of Biotechnology and with DST on 'Safe and Sustainable Infrastructure' and 'Integrated Water-Management' initiatives.

S&T and Space:

20. India and Canada have been cooperating since 1990s in the areas of space science, earth observation, satellite launch services and ground support for space missions. ISRO and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) have signed MOUs for cooperation in the field of exploration and utilization of outer space and two Implementation Arrangements specifically addressing satellite tracking and space astronomy. 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.

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, and President of the 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.

Cultural Exchanges:

21. 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. Three 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.

India-Canada Track 1.5 Dialogue

22. The first Canada-India Track 1.5 dialogue on Innovation, Growth and Prosperity was held in Ottawa from 29-30 October 2018 between Gateway House, Mumbai and Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Canada. Both sides explored the possibility of future cooperation in the field of cyber security, geo-engineering, climate leadership, trade in services and traditional & non-traditional forms of energy.

Indian Diaspora:

23. 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 21 Members of Parliament of Indian-origin. This includes Four (04) Ministers in the Cabinet, including Minister of Defence Mr. Harjit S. Sajjan; Mr. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; Mr. Amarjit Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources and Ms. Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

24. 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.


Useful Resources:
High Commission of India, Ottawa website:
30 November 2018