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International Relations

Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy

  • 14 Feb 2023
  • 9 min read

Prelims: Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

Mains: India-Canada Relations, Roadblocks in India-Canada Relations, significance of Canada’s Indo Pacific Policy on India’s Interests.

Why in News?

Recently, India-Canada Foreign minister’s Bilateral meeting as ‘India-Canada strategic Dialogue’ took place ahead of G20 Foreign ministers’ meeting in March in New Delhi.

  • India welcomed the announcement of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy given the shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo pacific.

What are the Highlights of the Meeting?

  • The Ministers discussed strengthening the economic partnership, advancing security cooperation, facilitating migration and mobility, and growing our strong people-to-people ties.
  • Canadian FM termed India as a critical partner for Canada in the Indo- Pacific. In return, Canada can be a reliable supplier of critical minerals, a strong partner in the green transition and a major investor.

What is the Significance of the Meeting?

  • Candian FM’s visit is expected to pave the way for a continued reset in India-Canada ties after a freeze between 2020-2022.
    • Freeze was over a number of issues including attacks on Indian-origin people and establishments by Khalistani groups in Canada, Canadian comments over India’s farmer protests and India’s cancellation of diplomatic talks in response.
    • In 2022, New Delhi objected to Canada permitting a Khalistani secessionist “referendum” and hit back with an advisory against travel in Canada that warned against hate crimes.
  • Apart from encouraging investment from Canadian funds, both the countries look forward to the ‘Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA)’ as a first step towards ‘Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)’.
  • The issue of Khalistani activities in Canada, which has contributed to the strained relationship between Canada and India, was not addressed in any official statements.
  • As India's economy grows, its strategic importance will only increase, providing a greater opportunity for Canada and India to strengthen their relationship.
  • Both countries share a suspicion of China and are seeking to expand trade ties, improve supply chain resilience, and encourage greater exchange of people between their countries.

What is Canada’s Indo Pacific Policy?

  • About:
    • Canada released a new Indo-Pacific strategy, focusing on four regions: China, India, the North Pacific (Japan and Koreas), and ASEAN.
      • The Indo-Pacific region is home to the largest diaspora in Canada, with 1 in 5 Canadians having family ties to the region and 60% of Canada's international students.
    • The strategy contains strong words on China's challenge to the international rules-based order and human rights, while expressing a positive view of India's shared tradition of democracy and pluralism.
    • However, Canada also acknowledges its dependence on China as its main export destination and recognizes the need for cooperation with China on issues such as climate change and health.
  • Funding:
    • Canada's strategy includes a funding commitment of $1.7 billion over five years, including infrastructure projects, enhanced military presence, and expanded participation in regional military exercises.
  • Objectives:
    • Promote peace, resilience and security.
    • Expand trade, investment and supply chain resilience.
    • Invest in and connect people.
    • Build a sustainable and green future.
    • Be an active and engaged partner to the Indo-Pacific.

How are India- Canada Relations?

  • Political:
    • India and Canada share commonalities in Parliamentary structure and procedures. After the 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.
    • In India, Canada is represented by the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi.
    • India is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa and by consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.
  • Economic:
    • Bilateral trade between India and Canada stands at USD 6.4 billion in 2020. In 2021, India was Canada's 14th largest export market, and 13th largest trading partner overall.
    • 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.
    • India’s exports to Canada include pharma, iron and steel, chemicals, gem and jewelry, nuclear reactors and boilers.
    • Canada has 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.
  • Science and Technology:
    • Primary focus has been on promoting Industrial R&D (Research and Development) and development of new IP (Intellectual property) processes, prototypes or products.
    • Department of Biotechnology under IC-IMPACTS program implements joint research projects in health care, agri-biotech and waste management.
      • IC-IMPACTS (the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability) is the first, and only, Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence.
    • Department of Earth Science and Polar Canada have started a programme for exchange of knowledge and scientific research on Cold Climate (Arctic) Studies.
  • Space:
    • ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have signed MOUs in the field of exploration and utilization of outer space.
    • -ANTRIX, the Commercial arm of ISRO, has launched several nanosatellites from Canada.
    • ISRO in its 100th Satellite PSLV launched in 2018, also flew Canadian first LEO (Low earth Orbit) satellite, from Indian spaceport Sriharikota.
  • Security and Defence:
    • India and Canada collaborate closely in international fora particularly through the UN, Commonwealth and G-20.
    • A Statement of Intent (SoI) on Cooperation between DRDO and Canada’s Defence Research and Development Council has been signed in 2015.
    • The security cooperation was further enhanced with the Framework for Cooperation between India and Canada on Countering Terrorism in 2018.
    • There is substantial engagement on counter terrorism issues particularly through the framework of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism.

What are the Key Facts about Canada?

  • Canada is the second largest country in the world in area (after Russia), occupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America.
  • Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy,
    • Constitutional Monarchy means that the British monarch is the head of state, but her role is mainly symbolic and ceremonial, while the actual governing of the country is carried out by elected representatives and government officials.
  • The border between the United States and Canada is primarily defined by the 49th parallel north.
  • Canada has a number of lakes including Great bear lake, Great slave lake, Winnipeg lake and 5 great lakes on USA Border namely: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Which among the following has the world’s largest reserves of Uranium? (2009)

(a) Australia
(b) Canada
(c) Russian Federation
(d) USA

Ans: (a)


  • As per the latest available data of OECD-NEA (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – Nuclear Energy Agency)/IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), World Nuclear Association – Australia has 30% of reserves, Kazakhstan (14%), Canada (8%), Russia (8%) and USA (1%). Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

Source: IE

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