The relationship between India and Canada, historically rooted in mutual respect and shared values, has recently been thrust into the limelight. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s startling comments hinting at India’s potential involvement in the demise of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar have added a layer of complexity to this bond. India, in response, has termed these allegations as “absurd”, emphasizing the need for Canada to address and curtail anti-India sentiments within its borders.
But beneath this diplomatic turbulence lies a relationship rich in history, trade, and cultural exchange. Let’s delve deeper:
A Population Connected:
- Canada, with its diverse population of 37 million, has become a second home for many Indians. Approximately 1.4 million Canadians trace their roots back to India, constituting 3.7% of Canada’s total populace.
- The Sikh community, in particular, has found a significant presence in Canada, with over 770,000 individuals identifying as Sikhs.
- On the flip side, India, with its teeming population of 1.43 billion, houses Sikhs constituting 1.7% of its total, with Punjab being their primary residence.
Trade: A Flourishing Partnership:
- The economic ties between India and Canada are nothing short of impressive. In 2022, bilateral trade touched a staggering $12bn Canadian dollars, marking a 57% surge from the preceding year.
- Canada’s export list to India is diverse, with fertilisers, coal, and energy products taking the lead. India, in return, ships a plethora of goods, ranging from everyday consumer items and textiles to sophisticated products like auto parts and electronics.
- The potential of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) looms large, promising to supercharge this trade relationship, potentially adding billions to Canada’s economic coffers by 2035.
Education and Cultural Synergy:
- Canada’s educational institutions have seen a steady influx of Indian students. Since 2018, India has consistently been the top source of international students for Canada.
- A whopping 320,000 Indian students chose Canada for their higher education in 2022, a number that has grown by 47% from the previous year.
- The Sikh community’s growth in Canada is noteworthy. Over the past two decades, their numbers have doubled, with many seeking not just education but also better job opportunities.
While the recent diplomatic ripples have introduced challenges, the foundational ties between India and Canada, built on trade, education, and mutual respect, remain unshaken. It’s essential to view the relationship in its entirety, acknowledging the challenges but also celebrating the shared bonds and potential for future collaboration.
This comprehensive news story is inspired by and based on an article from aljazeera.com.