India and Other Nations

 

Snapshot of relations

 

  • India-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a “global strategic partnership“, based on shared democratic values and increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues
  • Regular exchange of high-level political visits has provided sustained momentum to bilateral cooperation, while the wide-ranging and ever-expanding dialogue architecture has established a long-term framework for India-U.S. Engagement
  • Today, the India-U.S. bilateral cooperation is broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, defence and security, education, science and technology, cyber security, high-technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health
  • Vibrant people-to-people interaction and support across the political spectrum in both countries nurture our bilateral relationship as well

 

Areas and Instruments of Cooperation between India-USA

  • Political Cooperation
    • High Level Visits
      • Mutual visits at the leadership level – (Prime Minister, President Level) have been an integral element of the engagement between India and the U.S.
      • The outcomes generated by these visits have been instrumental in further strengthening and developing the multifaceted ties between the two countries
      • Also, both leaders consult at the:
        • India-U.S.-Japan trilateral summits
        • India-U.S.-Australia-Japan Quadrilateral
        • G20 Summits
    • High-Level Dialogue Mechanisms
      • India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue
        • This is led by the heads of foreign and defence ministries of India and the U.S
      • India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue
        • This is led by  and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce
      • India – U.S. Economic and Financial Partnership
        • This is led by the Finance Minister (FM) and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
      • India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum
        • This is led by the Minister of Commerce and Industry (CIM) and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)
      • India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership
        • This  is led by the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the U.S. Secretary of Energy
      • India-U.S. Homeland Security Dialogue (HSD)
        • The India-U.S. Homeland Security Dialogue is led by the Minister of Home Affairs and the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Defence

    • Defence relationship has emerged as a major pillar of India-U.S. strategic partnership with intensification in defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy
    • India conducts more bilateral exercises with the U.S. than with any other country
Name of the ExerciseParticipating Units
Tiger Triumph·         Indian Army and Navy

·         US Navy

Vajra Prahar·         United States Army Special Forces

·         Para SF

Yudh Abhyas·         It is the largest running joint military training and defence cooperation endeavour between India and the US.
Cope India·         Between Air Force units
Malabar Exercise·         Quadrilateral naval exercise of India, USA, Japan and Australia
  • Aggregate worth of defence-related acquisitions from the U.S is worth more than US$ 15 billion.
  • The India-U.S. Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) is aimed at promoting co-development and coproduction efforts
  • In 2016, the U.S. recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner“, which commits the U.S. to facilitate technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners
  • The announcement of India’s elevation to Tier I of the Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) license exception IN 2018, will further contribute towards facilitating interaction in advanced and sensitive technologies
  • The two countries now have four agreements that cover areas of Military Information, Logistics exchange, compatibility, and security between them
    • GSOMIA (a military information agreement) was the first of the foundational agreements to be signed in 2002
      • It essentially guaranteed that the two countries would protect any classified information or technology that they shared
      • It was aimed at promoting interoperability and laid the foundation for future US arms sales to the country
    • LEMOA (logistics exchange agreement) signed in 2016
      • It provides the framework for sharing military logistics, for example for refuelling and replenishment of stores for ships or aircraft transiting through an Indian/US facility
    • COMCASA (communications security agreement) was signed in 2018
      • This enables the US to supply India with its proprietary encrypted communications equipment and systems, allowing secure peacetime and wartime communications between high-level military leaders on both sides
    • Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA) signed in 2020
      • BECA will help India get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence that will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones.
      • Through the sharing of information on maps and satellite images, it will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting
    • The Defence Cooperation happens on the following cooperation mechanisms as well:
      • Defence Policy Group
      • Military Cooperation Group
      • Defence Technology and Trade Initiative and its Joint Working Groups
      • Executive Steering Groups for Army and Navy;
      • and Airforce, Defence Procurement and Production Group, Senior Technology Security Group, and the Joint Technical Group

Counter-terrorism and internal security

    • Cooperation in counterterrorism has seen considerable progress with enhanced intelligence sharing, information exchange and operational cooperation
    • The bilateral Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism is an important mechanism in this regard
    • Both sides have also initiated a Designations Dialogue to discuss designations of terrorists and entities.
    • Apart from the above, both sides also cooperate with each other on counter-terrorism and security issues in various multilateral bodies
    • Recently in 2021, both countries held consultation on counter terrorism cooperation under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership; where both sides pledged to further expand cooperation on law enforcement, information sharing, exchanging best practices and increasing strategic convergence

Cyber security cooperation

    • India-U.S. Have signed Cyber Framework in 2016
    • The two important dialogue mechanisms in this domain are –
      • India-U.S. Cyber Security Dialogue, and
      • The India-U.S. Joint Working Group on ICT
    • Recently under this, USA has offered to train up to 100 military personnel in Silicon Valley to give them first0hand experience on how to counter cyber-warfare and role of Artificial Intelligence in future defence and warfare

Trade and Economic relations

    • The US was India’s largest export destination and the second largest trading partner in 2020-21
    • India’s exports to the US in 2020-21 were valued at $51.62 billion and imports at $28.88 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of about $23 billion for the US
      • The top traded goods include pearls and precious stones, pharmaceuticals, machinery, electronics, clothing, vehicles, chemicals and fish products, optical, photo, medical apparatus and aluminium

    • There are several dialogue mechanisms to strengthen bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, which include
    • Ministerial level Economic and Financial Partnership
    • Ministerial Trade Policy Forum
    • For greater involvement of private sector in discussion on issues involving trade and investment, there is a bilateral India-U.S. CEO’s Forum
    • Further, India and the US have set up a bilateral Investment Initiative in 2014, with a special focus on facilitating FDI, portfolio investment, capital market development and financing of infrastructure.
    • S.-India Infrastructure Collaboration Platform has also been set up to deploy cutting edge U.S technologies to meet India’s infrastructure needs
Did you know?
    •  There is no trade agreement between India and the United States
    • And Free Trade Agreement is the next frontier in India-US relationship

Energy and Climate Change

    • The U.S. has emerged as a key partner for India in the field of energy
    • The bilateral Strategic Energy Partnership launched in 2018 between the two countries is robust and witnessing increasing diversification across both conventional and renewable energy sources
      • As a priority initiative under the PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Government of India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations by teams of scientists from India and the United States, with a total joint committed funding from both Governments of US$ 50 million
    • An India-U.S. Natural Gas Task Force was also created in 2018, to build on the scope of work on cooperation in biofuels sector
    • In 2019, the Indian Oil Corporation finalised term contracts for import of crude oil of U.S. origin.
      • These are the first term contracts finalised by any Indian PSU for import of U.S. origin crude oil grades
    • As a priority initiative under the PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy), the U.S.Department of Energy (DOE) and the Government of India have established the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) designed to promote clean energy innovations by teams of scientists from India and the United States, with a total joint committed funding from both Governments of US$ 50 million
    • India and the U.S. are advancing cooperation and dialogue on climate change through a highlevel Climate Change Working Group and a Joint Working Group on Hydroflurocarbon
      • An MoU between U.S. EXIM Bank and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was concluded to provide US$ 1 billion in financing for India’s transition to a low-carbon economy IN 2014

Civil Nuclear Cooperation

    • The bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in October 2008
    • India and the U.S. have a Civil Nuclear Energy Working group on R&D activities, and has ongoing projects under R&D collaboration which are reviewed by the Working Group
    • A S. company – Westinghouse is in discussions with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for implementation of a project that envisages six AP 1000 reactors at Kovvada (A.P.)
      • Once implemented, the project would be among the largest of its kind

Science and Technology/Space

    • The multi-faceted cooperation between India and the U.S. in the field of Science and Technology has been growing steadily under the framework of the India-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in 2005, which was renewed for a period of ten years in 2019
    • The Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) which was established by India and the U.S. as an autonomous, bi-national organization in the year 2000 to promote cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation is playing an important role in strengthening cooperation in this field
    • Both countries also have a long history of cooperation in civil space arena that includes cooperation in earth observation, satellite navigation, and space science and exploration
    • The India-U.S Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation regularly reviews the status of cooperation and identifies new areas for furthering space cooperation
    • ISRO and NASA are also working towards intensifying cooperation in Mars exploration, heliophysics, and human spaceflight through relevant working groups between both sides

Indian Diaspora & Cultural Cooperation

    • The number of Indians and Indian Americans in the U.S. is estimated at around 4 million, which accounts for almost 1% of the total U.S. population
    • It includes a large number of professionals, entrepreneurs and educationists with considerable and increasing influence in U.S. polity, economy and the society.
      • They are a big stakeholder in India-U.S. relations having significantly contributed to the growth and development of the U.S. economy
    • Cultural cooperation manifests in form of India-focused educational programs at the Universities and educational institutions
      • Further, the website ‘www.indianembassy.org’ and social media channels, the Embassy provides updated information on various aspects of India that are relevant to the United States, through its various publications, including “India: Partner in Growth”, a weekly newsletter focusing on business and strategic matters, and “India Live”, a monthly newsletter providing information on initiatives of the Embassy and the Consulates, major developments in India, and culture and tourism

Education

    • India and the U.S. have very strong linkages and collaboration in the field of higher education
    • S. is one of the most favoured destinations by Indian students for higher education
    • More than 200,000 Indian students are currently pursuing various courses in the U.S.

Regional and International Cooperation

    • Both countries are collaborating and coordinating on a number of regional and global issues in both security as well as development spheres
    • They are also engaged in areas such as maritime and cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts
    • The U.S. has expressed support for India’s permanent membership on a reformed N. Security Council and for India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group
    • India and the U.S. remain engaged to promote peace, prosperity and security, in the Indo-Pacific as well as globally.

Challenges/Roadblocks

  • Economy related
    • Mini Trade War
      • In 2020, America withdrew special trade privileges granted to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)
        • Under this scheme, the US grants some Indian exports, such as textiles and engineering goods, preferential or duty-free access to the American markets
        • In retaliation, India went on to hike tariffs on 28 American goods, including apples, walnut, iron and steel products
    • India’s high trade barriers
      • The US is especially miffed at India’s action in early 2018 when, in the annual budget, the government had hiked import duties and adopted price caps on a range of imports such as medical devices and ethanol
      • The US government also complained about India’s complex customs clearance procedures, which they said, caused delays, increased costs and added to uncertainty
  • Political
    • US cap on H-1B visas
      • The Indian government has strongly objected to this move, arguing that the restrictions on work visas would inhibit Indian workers to move to the US
      • The H-1B visa, popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in special occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise
    • E-commerce policy and data localisation
      • The US has criticised India’s data localisation and the draft e-commerce policy, calling it “most discriminatory and trade-distortive”
      • The USTR 2019 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers noted, “India has recently promulgated a number of data localisation requirements that would serve as significant barriers to digital trade between the US and India.”
      • The US government said India’s data localisation requirements, as mandated by Reserve Bank of India’s rules and the proposed e-commerce Bill, severely hiked the costs for American companies operating in India
        • Also, unfair commercial use as well as unauthorised disclosure of undisclosed test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical and agricultural products, are also an irritant between the two
    • Ending Iranian oil waivers for India
      • The USA had imposed strict economic sanctions on Iran and restricted its ability to export oil, after withdrawing from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal
      • In this perspective, India has been demanding that the American government allow it to continue its imports from Iran, but Washington has remained firm on its position

However, Iran expects that India will soon resume importing oil from it; and this might lead to contentions between India and USA

  • Defence related
    • India’s dependence on Russian defence equipment
      • In 2017, the US Congress had passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). According to this Act, sanctions could be imposed on any country indulging in procurement of weapons from a foreign so-called “rogue” government. This legislation was introduced to predominantly target Iran and Russia.
      • India’s decision to buy S-400 Triumf long-range missiles from Russia, worth $5.4 billion, has emerged as a major cause of irritation in India-US relations
  • Other Issues
    • Poor enforcement of IPR
      • India continues to feature on the ‘Priority Watch List’ for alleged Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations, according to a report by USTR
      • India remains one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP
    • The other irritants include:
      • India’s reluctance to ban Chinese firm Huawei to participate in the upcoming 5G trials
      • US’ decision to exit from Afghanistan also has damaged the India-US relationship

Way forward for better Ties between India-USA

  • Being the world’s leading democracies and market economies, India and the US see each other as vital strategic and natural allies and, more so given the rise of China and given the changing geo-political and strategic space in the Indo-Pacific
    • Moreover, both US and India feel the necessity to diversify their supply chain portfolio to avoid over-dependence on China
    • A strong India-US bilateral trade and investment pact along with forums such as ‘Quad’ can help in developing alternative supply chains.
  • The re-launch of the India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) after a gap of four years is a welcome step to discuss and sort out bilateral trade and investment issues
  • Continuous engagement between the two countries though India-US Trade Policy Forum’s (TPF) Intellectual Property Working Group is the way forward
  • There is also an opportunity for both countries in the shipbuilding industry.
    • Utilizing the strategic trade authorization license exemption granted by the US to India in 2018, and the bilateral Industrial Security Annex Agreement signed in 2019, India and the US can join efforts to produce the world’s finest and most economical platforms for their partners and friendly nations
  • Experts believe Artificial Intelligence and emerging technologies will further define relationships between countries.
    • India should look for opportunities to use its potential and establish its ‘footprint’ in AI and emerging technology.
    • Proactive regulation that protects data privacy; prevents inequitable mergers, anti-competitive practices, and competition law; guarantees free and fair taxation should be the steps ahead

Conclusion

  • As India and the U.S. grow closer, engaging in economical parameters, democracy projects demand high cooperation and collaboration on the global front.
    • It is the time when the coalition should take a step ahead from a people-to-people strategy to ground-led strategies.
    • Both the nations should come on a common platform to address rising socio-economic and geopolitical issues sharing a unified vision

 

 

Snapshot

India_Canada

 

  • India-Canada bilateral ties are underpinned by shared values of democracy, pluralism, expanding economic engagement, regular high level interactions and long-standing people-to-people ties
    • India and Canada have longstanding bilateral relationship based on shared democratic values, the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of two societies and strong people-to-people contacts
  • The visit of Indian Prime Minister in 2015 to Canada, elevated the bilateral relation to a Strategic Partnership
    • The further visit of Canadian Prime Minister in 2018, reaffirmed the breadth and scope of Canada-India relations, based on the fundamental principle of respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the two countries
  • Also, as Westminster style democracies, India and Canada share commonalities in Parliamentary structure and procedures

 

Bilateral Mechanisms for Cooperation

  • Dialogue Mechanisms
    • Both sides pursue bilateral relations through the following dialogue mechanisms:
      • Ministerial level- Strategic, Trade and Energy dialogues
      • Foreign Office Consultations; and
      • Other sector specific joint working groups (JWG)
      • Joint Working Group (JWG) on Higher Education(Since 2019)
      • JWG on Counter Terrorism
      • Joint Committee Meeting on Civil Nuclear cooperation
      • India-Canada Strategic Dialogue by the External Affairs Ministers of both nations
    • India-Canada has established a Track 1.5 Dialogue on involving experts, government officials and business leaders from both sides to explore the possibility of future cooperation
  • Economic Relations
    • Bilateral trade between India and Canada stands at USD 5 billion
    • More than 400 Canadian companies have a presence in India, and more than 1,000 companies are actively pursuing business in the Indian market.
      • Also, Canadian pension funds have pledged over USD 55 billion in investments between 2014 and 2020
    • 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 jewellery, nuclear reactors and boilers
      • Imports comprise minerals, ores, vegetables, fertiliser, paper and pulp
    • Also, Canada and India are working toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA)

india_canada_1

 

  • Development Cooperation
    • As of 2021, Canada invested nearly $24 million in 2018-2019 to support 75 projects in India via Grand Challenges Canada
      • The main programming sector of the Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch is maternal, newborn and child health, which includes support to early childhood development
    • Canadian funding supports key organizations active in India including the Micronutrient Initiative, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Population Fund and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
    • Key organizations supported by Canada that are active in India include Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and Nutrition International
    • Key sectors supported in India by Global Affairs Canada through multilateral funding include: sustainable economic development, treatment of infectious diseases, and nutrition.
    • The International Development Research Centre(IDRC) continues to have an active presence in India with projects focusing on
      • the links between climate change and migration
      • the reduction of violence against vulnerable populations
      • women’s rights, security and access to justice
      • economic opportunities for Indian workers, especially women; and
      • improving food security
  • Nuclear Cooperation
    • A Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with Canada was signed in 2010 and came into force in 2013
      • The Appropriate Arrangement (AA) for the NCA was signed in 2013, under which a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation was constituted
      • In 2015, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) signed an agreement for supply of uranium ore concentrate to India in 2015-2020
  • Security and Defence
    • India and Canada collaborate closely in international fora particularly through the UN, Commonwealth and G-20
    • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has signed a MoU for cooperation with Canada’s York University (signed in 2012), which focuses on biological and chemical warfare and sensors.
      • 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 and Violent Extremism signed by the National Security Advisor of India and the National Security and Intelligence Advisor of Canada in 2018
    • The two countries have signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in 1994 (operationalised in 1998) and Extradition Treaty in 1987
      • The Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism was set up in 1997.
    • There is substantial engagement on counter terrorism issues particularly through the framework of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism
  • Energy
    • Energy has been a primary area of our focus, considering that Canada is an ‘energy superpower’ with 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
    • India Oil Corporation has a 10% participating interest in a Liquid Natural Gas project in British Columbia
  • Science and Technology
    • Indo-Canadian Science and Technology cooperation has been primarily focussed on promoting Industrial R&D which has potential for application through development of new IP, processes, prototypes or products
    • Department of Biotechnology under IC-IMPACTS program implements joint research projects in health care, agri-biotech and waste management
    • Department of Earth Science and Polar Canada have started a programme for exchange of knowledge and scientific research on Cold Climate (Arctic) Studies
  • Space
    • India and Canada are pursuing successful cooperative and commercial relations in the field of Space since 1990s mainly on space science, earth observation, satellite launch services and ground support for space missions
    • ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have signed MOUs in the field of exploration and utilisation 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 satellite, from Indian spaceport Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh
  • Education
    • Recently India became the top source of foreign students with 203000 Indian students studying in Canada
    • Many Canadian faculty members have visited India, under the Global Initiative of Academic Works (GIAN) programme for teaching assignments in Indian institutions
    • Canada is one of the 28 countries covered under the Scheme for promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), an initiative aiming to improve research ecosystems in India’s higher education institutions
    • The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) is a unique bi-national organization fostering, since 1968, education and cultural cooperation and collaboration between India and Canada
    • As part of commemoration of 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, it was decided by GOI to set up a Chair on Guru Nanak Devji in a Canadian University
  • People-to-People
    • 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 has done commendably well in every sector in Canada
      • In the field of politics, in particular, the present House of Common (total strength of 338) has 22 Members of Parliament of Indian-origin
  • India-Canada COVID-19 Collaboration
    • Supply of Hydroxichloroquine (HCQ) to Canada: As part of the series of shipments of the drugs to various countries, India supplied consignment of five million tablets of HCQ to Canada
    • Evacuation of stranded Indian and Canadian nationals from each other’s’ countries and Air Bubble operations: India and Canada made arrangement to evacuate their respective stranded nationals from each other’s countries
    • Development of COVID-19 vaccines: External Affairs Minister and the Canadian Foreign Minister have discussed the possible cooperation with regard to medical challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic. India has offered to make available its production capacities in PPEs, pharmaceutical products and vaccines to Canadian companies in collaboration

Challenges to India-Canada relations

  • Khalistani factor
    • The early Sikh immigrants to Canada sought to politically organise themselves, reacting to the anti-immigrant sentiments and discrimination they faced in the country
    • Social, economic and political developments in India that affected the interests of the Sikhs like the declaration of emergency in 1975, Riots of 1984, further fuelled their political drive
    • Events such as the 1984 riots and the Golden Temple incident are frequently introduced in Canada’s provincial legislatures, often in the form of petitions.
      • This has led to regionalisation of Indo-Canadian politics
    • While Sikh militancy has largely died down in India, concerns remain about the revival of the Khalistan movement.
      • Amongst a small but highly motivated section of the Canadian Sikh diaspora, the movement has been heavily internalised
    • Such Activities of a section of the Canadian Sikh diaspora population that have espoused the Khalistan sentiments have contributed greatly to the India–Canada rift
  • Trade Issues
    • India has been the largest market for Canadian pulses, peas and lentils.
      • In the last few years, India has been receiving bumper crops in pulses, and is unwilling to import the staple food, to protect domestic farmers.
      • In this perspective, India’s measure to increase duties by 50% of all imported peas without providing any advanced notice in 2018, irked the Canadian Government
    • Bilateral agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPA), have been in negotiation for long time and no progress has been reached by both the countries
    • Also, structural impediments such as complex labour laws, market protectionism, and bureaucratic regulations are roadblocks for Indo-Canadian relations

Way forward

    • India’s growing economy offers opportunities for a G-7 country such as Canada, e.g. the emergence of a significant middle-class consumer population, improvement in the business climate, a booming service sector and a robust demand for natural resources
      • Canada, being an advanced and resource-rich economy can cement better ties with India for a win-win situation
    • Energy is another area of emerging cooperation for the two countries
      • According to the Oil Processing and Exporting Countries (OPEC), World Oil Outlook Report 2040, India’s oil demand will double by 2040
      • In times of growing pressure from the US to cut oil imports from Iran, Canada could be an alternative energy source for India
    • The infrastructure and transport sectors, too, are potential areas of cooperation and investment.
      • India’s ambitious ‘smart cities’ initiative creates opportunities for Canadian firms, to undertake infrastructure projects in various Indian cities
      • Also, Canada’s experience in developing environment-friendly urban infrastructure can prove beneficial for India

Conclusion

  • India-Canada relations have struggled to prosper, despite the two countries sharing various complementarities such as their democratic character and association in the Commonwealth
  • For India to overcome the longstanding hiatus in its relations with Canada, it must divert its attention away from politically contentious issues.
    • Also, India should also take into consideration that past events affecting the Sikh diaspora in Canada have gradually become part of the political discourse in Canada
  • Hence there is a need to develop a new framework of cooperation that is more pragmatic and that emphasises on mutually beneficial areas, such as trade, where opportunities lie and much work remains to be done, for better Indo-Canadian relations

 

 

Snapshot

 

    • In recent years, The India-Australia bilateral relationship has undergone evolution, developing along a positive track, into a friendly partnership.
      • The two nations have much in common, underpinned by shared values of a pluralistic, Westminster-style democracies, Commonwealth traditions, expanding economic engagement and increasing high level interaction
      • Several other commonalities, including strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies, free press, independent judicial system and English language, serve as a foundation for a closer co-operation and multifaceted interaction
    • The longstanding people-to-people ties, ever increasing Indian students coming to Australia for higher education, growing tourism and sporting links, especially Cricket and Hockey, have played a significant role in further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries

 

Areas of Cooperation

1.Political Cooperation

    • Strategic Partnership
      • In 2009, India and Australia established a ‘Strategic Partnership’, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation which has been further elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020
    • High Level Exchanges
      • Leaders’ Virtual Summit
        • The Prime Ministers from both nations, participated in the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit in 2020 where the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP)
        • MoUs were signed relating to Maritime Cooperation in Indo-Pacific, Defence, Cyber Security, Education, Mining, Water Resource Management etc.
      • Quad Leaders Virtual Summit
        • Prime Ministers of India, Australia, Japan and President of USA participate here, for mutual cooperation
      • Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue (FMFD)
        • FMFD is the central mechanism for advancing the bilateral agenda and is held annually
    • Dialogue Mechanisms
      • Various institutional dialogue mechanisms include
      • Annual Meetings of Prime Ministers
      • Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue
      • Joint Trade & Commerce Ministerial Commission
      • India-Australia ‘2+2’ Foreign Secretaries and Defence Secretaries Dialogue
      • Defence Policy Talks
      • Australia-India Education Council
      • Defence Services Staff Talks
      • Energy Dialogue
      • India-Australia-Japan Trilateral Dialogue
      • India-Australia-Indonesia Trilateral Dialogue
      • India-France-Australia Trilateral Dialogue
      • India-Australia Bilateral Dialogue on Global Cyber Issues
      • India-Australia Maritime Dialogue
      • India-Australia Economic Policy Dialogue
      • India-Australia Dialogue on Disarmament
      • Non-proliferation and Export Control as well as Joint Working Groups on Tourism, Counter-Terrorism, Water Resources, Agriculture, Skill Development, etc.
      • India and Australia also co-operate in various multilateral fora
      • Australia supports India’s candidature in an expanded UN Security Council
      • Both India and Australia are members of the Commonwealth, IORA, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate and Clean Development, and have participated in the East Asia Summits
      • Both countries have also been cooperating as members of the Five Interested Parties (FIP) in the WTO context
      • Australia supports India’s membership in the APEC
      • The Prime Ministers of Australia and India interact regularly at G20 as well

2.Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship

    • As part of its efforts to develop strong economic relationship with India, the Australian Government commissioned the India Economic Strategy to 2035 to define a pathway for Australia to unlock opportunities offered by Indian Economic growth (This paper was released in 2018)
    • India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was established in 1989 to enable interaction at a government and business level on a range of trade and investment related issues
    • Bilateral Trade
      • India is the 8th largest trade partner of Australia with trade in goods and services at A$ 26.24 billion representing 3% share of the total Australian trade in FY 2019-20, with exports at A$ 7.59 billion and imports at A$ 18.65 billion
      • India’s main exports to Australia are Refined petroleum, Medicaments (incl. veterinary), Pearls & gems, Jewellery, Made-up textile articles, Women’s clothing , Other textile clothing, Manufactures of base metal
        • While India’s major imports are Coal, Confidential items of trade, Copper ores & concentrates, Natural gas, Non-ferrous waste & scrap, ferrous waste & scrap and education related services
      • Education is Australia’s largest service export to India, valued at $6 billion and accounting for around 88 per cent of the total in 2020
    • India-Australia CEO Forum is a mechanism for business from both nations to engage directly on ways to build the bilateral trade and investment relationship (It was established in 2011 and revitalised in November 2014).
      • The Forum includes heads of Indian and Australian business from a broad range of sectors
    • Treasury-NITI Ayog Economic Policy Dialogue
      • A two–member delegation led by CEO of NITI Aayog, visited Australia in 2019, for first of its kind dialogue
      • Further, To support more Australian and Indian business partnerships, the Australian Government has launched the Australia India Business Exchange (AIBX) program.
      • AIBX provides a range of services to support Australian businesses to enter and establish in India, from industry specific insights to guidance on doing business with India and entering India’s online retail market.

3.Civil Nuclear Cooperation

    • A Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the two countries was signed in 2014
      • The agreement came into force in 2015 and provides the framework for substantial new trade in energy between Australia and India.
    • In this pursuance, The Australian Parliament passed the “Civil Nuclear Transfer to India Bill 2016” in 2016 which ensures that Uranium mining companies in Australia may fulfil contracts to supply Australian uranium to India for civil use with confidence that exports would not be hindered by domestic legal action, challenging the consistency of the safeguards applied by the IAEA in India and Australia’s international non-proliferation obligations

4.Defence Cooperation

    • During India’s PM visit to Australia in 2014, both sides decided to extend defence cooperation to cover research, development and industry engagement and agreed to hold regular meetings at the level of the Defence Minister, conduct regular maritime exercises and convene regular service-to-service talks
    • Other Bilateral Exercises
      • Australia and India are committed to working together for enhanced maritime cooperation and have had AUSINDEX since 2015
      • Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
        • Recently, Australia informed India that the exercise Pitch Black 2020, scheduled in the year stands cancelled due to the Covid-19.
        • The next edition will be held in 2022.
      • Both nations also cooperate alongside AUSTRAHIND (Special Forces of Army Exercise)

5.Science & Technology

    • An Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF), which was established in 2006, supports collaboration between scientists in India and Australia on cutting-edge research
    • A Joint Working Group (JWG) for cooperation in Agriculture has been set up

6.Resources & Energy Security

    • In 2017, Australia signed a framework agreement for to join the International Solar Alliance, led by the Governments of India and France
    • The Australia-India Energy Dialogue is the primary forum to discuss bilateral engagement on energy and resources.
      • There are 4 working groups established to support the Energy Dialogue:
        • Renewable Energy and Smart Grids
        • Power and Energy Efficiency
        • Coal and Mines
        • Oil and Gas
    • At the recent QUAD summit, both sides agreed to go forward with a low emissions technology partnership, a partnership that will focus on hydrogen development, ultra-low cost solar programs, to support India’s energy transition

7.Education, Sports, Art & Culture

    • Pursuant to the signing of the new Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training, the Joint Working Group Meeting between India (Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship) and Australia (Dept. of Education, Skills and Employment) was held virtually in 2020
    • Repatriation of Indian Cultural Artefacts
      • A number of artefacts have been successfully repatriated to India in recent years.
      • They include Bronze Idol of Nataraja from Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) (2019), Nagaraja stone sculpture (2020), two Dwarpala stone sculptures (2020)
    • The Indian community in Australia continues to grow in size and importance, with the population of about seven hundred thousand.
      • India is one of the top sources of skilled immigrants to Australia
      • The number of Indian students continue to grow with approximately 105,000 students presently studying in Australian universities.
      • After England, India is the second largest migrant group in Australia in 2020

Roadblocks/Irritants

    • Different concerns : China
      • Australian concerns have to do with China’s increased activities in the Pacific; while India is concerned about China’s greater presence and influence in the Indian Ocean
      • It is likely that Australia has a certain lack of confidence given that New Delhi seems ambiguous about whether to balance or hedge. These differences might partly have to do with strategic histories.
      • In this perspective, Australia has long been an American ally, while India remains uncomfortable about alliances
    • Joint Exercises: India’s Military deficit
      • The second issue with the relationship is the deficit of military capabilities, especially on the Indian side
      • While the two militaries have been able to showcase their prowess during exercises, their ability to come to each other’s aid during conflict remains in question.
      • The joint logistics services agreement would go a long way in addressing this issue as it would provide joint access to each other’s military facilities
    • Malabar Trilateral related
      • From an Australian perspective, an irritant in the relationship is India’s reluctance to involve Australia in the Malabar trilateral naval exercise alongside the other three Quad nations — India, Japan and the United States.
      • Indian media reports indicate that India might be open to involving Australia at the next Malabar naval exercises
    • Nuclear Deal at Pivot Point
      • Although Australia has developed its uranium export industry in recent years, there are still considerable reservations among many in Australia about its sale
      • The key condition for allowing uranium mining was that uranium would only be exported for civilian use to countries that had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which India has not signed yet
      • In pursuance of this aspect, Despite an agreement, Australia continued its policy of not supplying uranium to India

Way Forward

  • Thus, as the threat from China grows, India and Australia should find more innovative ways to work together to shape a stable Asian strategic order
  • Augmented Australia-India ties within bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral, and other minilaterals and multilateral institutions are a reality that is unlikely to slow down for the foreseeable future.
    • The convergence of strategic interests in ensuring an Indo-Pacific order that is free of hegemonic and muscular policies is a glue that will bind India and Australia further in the coming years.
    • The two will likely also expand their partnership both in pursuing strategic partnerships and thematic ones like supply chain resilience initiative
  • On the whole, The India–Australia strategic partnership has seen impressive advancements in the last few years, but its potential and promise are yet to be fully realised.
    • Hence, the need of dedicated attention and political leadership from both capitals to become more than a work in progress going forward

 

Snapshot

  • Relations between India and Russia are rooted in history, mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation. This is a strategic partnership that has withstood the test of time, and which enjoys the support of the people of both countries