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Canada-India Relations in the 21st Century and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Indo Canadian Institute A Amarjit jit S S. N Narang
President Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, P f Professor of f Political P li i l Science, S i I Indira di G Gandhi dhi National Open University, New Delhi

Canada-India Relations in 21st Century

Emerging India has been identified as a key priority country by both liberal and conservative governments of l t few last f years. Officials, Business leaders and educators, all in both countries are displaying a keen enthusiasm in fostering linkages with their counter parts. parts There is a definite reversal of trend generated mainly by the differences over the nuclear issue that has been more negative than positive for much of the past six decades. decades In the aftermath of 1974 Pokhran explosions until 2001, neither country was wholly committed to fostering ties 99 nuclear there came with the other Indeed after 1998 almost a thaw in Indo-Canada relations.

Canada-India Relations
Even before 1970s Canada-India Relations most of the times remained at cross roads. Neither Canada nor India functioned as a mirror image of the East-West bloc leaders (USA and USSR) )i in their h i approach h to world ld affairs, ff i i in their h i bilateral relations and in South Asian Affairs. (Semi-autonomous ( Semi autonomous relations relations-Ashok Ashok Kapoor) In December 1941 Lester Pearson reviving the idea of appointing a High Commissioner to India concluded. l d d

India would emerge as independent nation after the war and, like China the country could not be ignored. C Canada d could ld assist i t th the young I Indian di government t as it navigated the international stage by proffering advice based on a similar history of colony-to-nation. Ottawa could also provide insight on how a future federal Indian government could accommodate states seeking greater powers while dealing with religious and cultural minority rights. Only Canada could uniquely assist India in meeting these objectives in contrast to the United States or Australia because Canada could draw from its own largely peaceful political li i l evolution l i and d experience i i in d dealing li with ih minority rights. Ottawa could conveniently initiate this process without ith t great t exposure and d without ith t assuming i any embarrassing responsibilities.

A Cordial Beginning g g
In the years, immediately after Indias independence there was a fundamental convergence g in the approach pp to international politics between Canada and India on such issues as the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the situation in Asia. The leader of both the countries looked upon themselves as representatives of middle powers. The two counties shared an identity of perceptions vis--vis the relations between Asia and the west. The two countries despite their geopolitical bipolarities favourd the need to establish dialogue between hostile groups. Indias task was to temper china and build a bridge b t between th that t country t and d th the west tC Canadas d role l was to moderate American Politics towards Asia and Indias attitudes towards the U.S.

Canada-India Canada India Relations : Erosion

Close relations between India and Canada did not last for long. g Differences over issues like Korea, Hungary and South East, stand on Kashmir, Pakistan joining NATO. From early 1970s relations started becoming cold-1971 ld I India's di ' I Intervention t ti i in B Bangladesh, l d h 1974 testing nuclear device, differences of opinion on issues relations to Afghanistan and nuclear proliferation. proliferation The period 1980s throughout witnessed many strains in bilateral relations. Canada Canadas s soft policy towards refugees, refugees especially Sikh militants. The bombing of Air India flight and judicial process in Canada in punishing the culprits. 9 witnessed a decline in the status The middle of 1980s of Canadian High Commissioner in Delhi. Only Shastri-Indo-Canadian Institute filled some gaps at the educational and cultural level.

Erosion Erosion
Michael Breacher identifies the following reasons for negative state of affairs: Increasing American influence over Canada and d conversely l Indias di political li i l di distance with ih USA and close ties with USSR during cold war period. period Canada became more inward looking. U N Peace-Keeping U.N. Peace Keeping operation led by Canada was not necessarily linked with India. Indias nuclear support pp from Canada was allegedly misused for Pakhran-I explosion

Silver Lines
Despite different perceptions in 1970s and 1980s there was greater commercial interaction. The business and trade delegations of the two countries exchanged ideas and also organised trade exhibitions. Though actual progress in expanding trade and trade related economic activities remained slow slow, these were moving. In early 1990s there was a great deal of excitement in Canada over the Economic liberalisation drives initiated by the Indian Government. Canada signed several agreements with India both at the governmental and non-governmental non governmental levels to boost its economic and political presence in South Asia. Canadian Governments tough stand on 1998 nuclear explosion did not effect the normal business links between the two countries. In June 1999 India and Canada resumed their bilateral dialogues.

Silver Lines Lines

Since Indias independence, people to people links in two countries have g grown steadily y including g academic, cultural and other exchanges. Significant presence of Indian Diaspora. After 1950 with t c changes a ges in Ca Canadas ada s immigration g at o law, a , Indian da immigration to Canada has been increasing constantly. Presence of Shastri Shastri-Indo Indo Canadian Institute(SICI) SICI was conceived of Prof. Michael Breacher of McGill University in the early 60s to overcome the total information gap and the letter lack of economic and cultural contacts between two countries. The Governments of India and Canada signed a MOU on November 28, 28 1968 and SICI was established as non-profit charitable organisation in Canada with four members.


B i Business and d Bil Bilateral t lR Relations l ti

Changes in perception between two countries are primarily related to Trade and Business The Canadian Business Lobby insisted that in order to take the advantage of on expanding market in the Asia Pacific the Canadian government needed to promote closes tics with India. The Indian Business Executives made it clear that India offered unique opportunity for trade investment.


Business and Bilateral...

Focus India Campaign (1995), Canada-India Business Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, FICCI Missions and visits from 1994 onwards. Canadian di Prime i Minister i i Team Cheritian h i i Team lean Canada (2 Cabinet Minister, 7 Premiers and 300 Business persons) generated high expectations Prime Minister, however expressed two concerns (a) ( ) NPT and d (b) Child hild l labour b


Partners for the 21st Century

Though the Indian Nuclear explosion of 1998 gave new dimensions. It remained short lived and did not affect business links India of 1998 was not India of 1974 which could be ignored for long. Following F ll i th the general l elections l ti i in Canada C d i in November 2000, there has been a perceptible shift.


2001 Canadas Minister of Foreign g Affairs John Manley announced The Government of Canada planned to pursue the broadest possible political po ca a and d eco economic o c relations e a o s with India, d a, ending nearly three-year long cooler period. Since 2003 there has been a steady maturing of the Canada Canada-India India relations from one of engagement towards one of partnership. October 24, 2003 Prime Minister of two countries issued joint statement committing their governments to an expanded partnership.


After the equivalent of a prolonged diplomatic age punctured by periods of high optimum from both sides, India is increasingly on Canadian mind. Indeed emerging India is now referred to as a k priority key i i country by b b by conservative i


Prime Minister Harper: Canada simply cannot afford to miss out an I di phenomenal Indias h l economic i growth. th That Th t is i why our government is putting so much emphasis p on improving p g trade and investment between our countries. Canada will open two new trade offices in Indian i Hyderabad in H d b d (South (S th India) I di ) Kolkata K lk t (E (East t India). To further enhance trade and investment ties the government will also post additional commissioners at the established offices in M b and Mamba dD Delhi lhi
(Prime Minister Harper on April 18, 2008 in Toronto)


While the new trends in strengthening IndoCanadian relations offer hope for positive growth, only a small portion of total potential area has been achieved so far, even in economic and d trade t d relations. l ti Despite deeming India a key priority present g suggest gg that the Canadian g government has signs arrived at a cross-roads and in contrast to key allies such as Australia and United States is not wholly y certain as to what it wants from India apart from increase in trade linkages (Ryan Touchey)


The arrow currently points upwards in Canadian relations with India, but it remains unclear exactly in what sense, or how (and how far) to advance this potential if it is to be translated into concrete expression of policy (Alistair D. Edgar)


Canada in Afghanistan
Canada today is engaged deeply in South Asian Security Affairs with 2,500 Canadian Forces in most active combat zone of the NATO Mission in Afghanistan. Security is a critical prerequisite for successful for successful reconstruction programs, but the military campaign i alone l cannot td defeat f t th the T Taliban lib and d achieve hi long-term success in stability and peace-building. The February 2008 report on Afghanistan by the International crisis Group (ICG) noted. noted.There There had been a collective failure to tackle the root causes of violence. Both New Delhi and Ottawa do have wider political and security interests. Canadian C di government h has made d a relatively l i l l large military ili financial and personnel investment, if yet not an adequate investment of civilian economic and other resources. India Indias s aid to Afghanistan currently equals that of Canada at approximately $ 750 million.


Afghanistan : India-Canada India Canada Understanding

Both Canada and India stand to gain from success in building a more secure and stable Afghanistan. India has good and legitimate reasons for seeking greater influence, here, as violence and instability are not threats simply to security of geographically distant western states. Indian involvement in Afghanistan can also influence India-Pakistan relations, militancy in Kashmir and domestic issues. Both B th Ott Ottawa and d New N D Delhi lhi can gain i f from a more secure and stable Afghanistan-even if their reasons and their objectives diverge. Differences between the two two, particularly among civil society organizations and intellectuals, needs to be narrowed down.


U.S.-India U S -India Civil Nuclear Cooperation and Canada

U.S. India di Nuclear l d deal lh has b been claimed l i db by two governments as a key step in recognizing Indias status as a strategic partner of the United States and as a vital element in securing India Indias s future energy needs. The nuclear-deal alarmed the global nonproliferation lobby. lobby It has strong supporters and equally strong critics. Within both countries there continues opposition from certain sections. The opponents pp of the deal in the U.S. and elsewhere argue that India has been rewarded for its continuous defiance of global nuclear non-proliferation regime. The supporters of the deal argue that agreement accepts the h nuclear l reality li of f twenty fi first century and d tries to bring India into non-proliferation regime.


U.S. India Nuclear Deal..

If Canada votes against the lifting of restrictions, restrictions it stands to

lose in a variety of way. While most of the SSG members were initially opposed to the exemption, the main opponents are now ow Pakistan, a sta , C China aa and d Ca Canada. ada. Even ve C China a is s now ow sta starting t g to lean the other way. If China defects, it will be Canada and Pakistan as the sole opponents. And if Canada is seen as obstructionist, there will be a price to pay. Those repercussions wont come solely from India. American industry is pushing for this because they are the big beneficiaries of this, including the U.S. defense and aerospace i d t i industries. It Its across th the b board d on th the U U.S. S side. id It would ld b be counter-productive for Canadian industries. Nonproliferation efforts are already weak and Canada must look to its own long-term interest when weighing how to vote.. vote (Ashok Kapur Professor Emeritus University of Waterloo)


N l Nuclear D Deal l
After adopting p g an intransigent g attitude and high g moral ground against Indias nuclear programme, it was difficult for Canada to support India in NSG and IAEA Board. The h growing i strategic i partnership hi b between the h United i d States and India reflected in the deal has compelled Canadian policy members to take note of changing wind in the international politics. politics Ottawa faced a conundrum. It is developing its own historically frostly relationship with India. Supporting the deal can only assist this process and allow Canada to enjoy the economic advantages of resuming civilnuclear cooperation. Canada, France and Russia will be the main beneficiaries of the nuclear Commerce with India, U.S. will get a small slice of sale


Cooperation in Education
Today there are three common higher education ambitions all over (a) Greater Level of Access Access, (b) To improve Quality of Higher Education and (c) To improve equity. The above are much more concerns for countries like India. By now an increasing number of post post-secondary secondary institutions in Canada are looking to India as a rich source of student recruitment. The Th academia d i i in India I di and d Canada C d h has not tb been adequately engaged in collaborative studies and researches. Dialogues have started. Canada-India Education For a new hold.



Conceived of by Prof. Michael Brecher of McGill University to overcome the total information gap and d lack l k of f economic i and d cultural lt l contacts t t between India and Canada. MOU signed on November 28, 28 1968 came into existence with four Canadian Institutes as its founding g members.



From 2005 Indian Universities also started joining as members Present membership 35 from Canada 45 from India. SICI originally sought to encourage Canadian teaching and researches on India, focusing on the humanities and social sciences. sciences The Institutes success in sparking in Indian studies among Canadian academics led to a reciprocal interest in Canada among Indian scholars.


I In the th 1980s 1980 SICI began b t promote to t Canadian C di studies in India and later, expanded its activities to include development studies and researches. researches Since 2005 SICI has become truly bi-national in membership p and g governance. In addition to traditional areas of Humanities and Social Sciences SICIs mandate now include Science and Technology, Environment, Law, Management etc.


SICI mission is To To improve the quality of life of the people of Canada and India by building and strengthening intellectual and cultural linkages through research, research dialogue and exchange. exchange To achieve above mission SICIs engagement in promoting (1) Understanding Canada (through C Canadian di St Studies);(2) di ) ( ) U Understanding d t di I India di (through Indian Studies; (3) Enabling Connections by awarding partnership d l development grants travel l subsidy b id grants, internships to young scholars (4) Disseminating knowledge g by y exchange g of books and organising g g seminars, conferences, workshops (5) Managing fellowships offered by DFAIF and Govt. of India.