Answer Synopsis 06/01/2021

Question : India – Canada relations have seen a blow due to remarks of Canadian PM. What would be the possible impacts of this deteriorating relation with Canada? (10 marks, 150 words)


Recently Canadian Prime Minister expressed his views on Indian farm Bills and supported farmer’s protest. Similarly, Canadian PM’s coalition partner also praised the farmer’s protests in India.

Possible Challenges this can have in India – Canada relationships

Though India and Canada have long standing relationships, the co-operation never achieved its full potential because of various reasons.

  • Khalistani separatist factor:
    • It is the single most important challenge between India and Canada ties.
    • Sikhs constitute a significant proportion of the Indian diaspora; they make up little less than one percent (a little over 500,000) of Canada’s total population and few leaders in Canada support Khalistan movement to large extent for electoral gains in Canada.
    • The Ontario Provincial Parliament adopted a resolution terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as ‘genocide’ and many other Canadian leaders also support that even today.
    • During recent Canadian PM visit to India, a controversial picture where former Sikh separatist Jaspal Atwal has surfaced in news.
    • Canadian government usually try to balance the Sikh assertions and government’s India policy. This makes India Canada relationship at stake.
    • It is also the reason for recent Canadian PM’s support to Indian farmer’s protest.
  • Trade Relations:
    • Though both the countries are involved in Trade for long time the trade deals are “always underperformed” said by Ministry of External Affairs, India.
    • Feminisation of Canadian Trade Policies Canadian Government put in gender clauses in the trade pact. Though it is revolutionary, but in countries like India it was seen as a non-tariff barrier.
      For Ex. Canadian Trade agreement with Chile has entire Chapter devoted to women.
    • Bilateral agreements: Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPA), have been in negotiation for long time and no progress is reached by both the countries.
  • Strategic Location:
    • Canada surrounded by developed Western countries does not clearly understand India located with hostile neighbours like China and Pakistan.
    • The terms and conditions have heavily tilted towards developed countries and Indian interests are not considered seriously so far.

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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