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Prelims Capsule

International Relations

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau wins 3rd term but without majority – Impact on India Canada Relation

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau wins 3rd term but without majority – Impact on India Canada Relation


  • GS 2 || International Relations || India & Rest of the World || Canada

Why in the news?

  • Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won a neck-and-neck contest with his rival Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party.


  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a third term in Canada’s snap election but fell short of regaining the majority he was seeking, faced with relying on smaller parties in another fragmented parliament.
  • Trudeau has been the prime minister of Canada since 2015 and is seeking a third term, made the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic the focal point of his campaign.
  • Trudeau’s Liberal Party was elected or leading in 155 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, compared with 123 seats for the Conservatives under Erin O’Toole.
  • Canada runs on a Parliamentary democracy system. The House of Commons, the Lower House of the Canadian Parliament has 338 seats. To form a government in Canada, the party needs to secure at least 170 seats.
    • If no party reaches a majority, the incumbent prime minister gets the first shot at forming a new government by cobbling up a coalition.

Stakes for India

  • This time, as many as 49 Indian-origin candidates were in the fray in the election, including Cabinet ministers Harjit S Sajjan, Bardish Chagger, and Anita Anand.
  • In the 2019 election, 20 Indo-Canadians were elected as MPs.
  • Indo-Canadians have normally backed the Liberal Party in elections.
  • India is the largest source of immigrants and international students for Canada.
  • Through its Express Entry program, the Trudeau administration has expanded immigration into Canada since 2015.
  • According to the 2020 Annual Report on Immigration, Indian immigrants accounted for one-fourth of the total permanent residencies granted by Canada in 2019.
  • The number of Indians who became permanent residents in Canada jumped from 39,340 in 2016 to 85,593 in 2019.

Indian Diaspora in Canada

  • Indian diaspora comprising 3.6% of the Canadian population is well-educated, affluent, and politically polished.
  • During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada in April 2015, both sides agreed to elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
  • The bilateral ties fundamentally rest on 3Es — economy, energy, and education.
  • The two-way trade between both countries has increased from the US $3.21 billion in 2010 to US $6.05 billion approximately in 2016  and C$10 billion in 2019.
  • The cumulative Indian FDI was US$ 2093.53 million as against Canadian FDI of US$ 901.1693 million in India.
  • Indian companies have invested especially in the IT, software, steel, and natural resources sectors, etc.

Major Collaborations 

  • Trade- India has been importing uranium from Canada since 2015.
    • Canada has ample reserves of oil and gas. Thus being potentially a key partner in India’s quest for energy security.
    • India exports include gems, jewellery and precious stones, pharmaceutical products, readymade garments, light engineering goods, iron & steel articles, etc.
    • India’s imports from Canada include pulses, newsprint, wood pulp, asbestos, potash, iron scrap, copper, minerals and industrial chemicals, etc.
    • Indian companies have invested especially in the IT, software, steel and natural resources sectors.
  • Agriculture In the agricultural sector, Canadian pulses were being imported by India. Also, both nations have some collaboration in agri-tech.
  • S&T and Space
    • ISRO and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) have signed MOUs for cooperation in the field of exploration and utilization of outer spaceand two Implementation Arrangements specifically addressing satellite tracking and space astronomy has also been signed.
    • ANTRIX, the Commercial arm of ISRO has launched many Canadian Satellites.
    • There is enough potential for stepping up cooperation in areas like information technology, science and technology, clean and green tech, aviation and outer space, cold-climate warfare, cybersecurity, counterterrorism, and tourism.
  • Cooperation in Energy sectors
    • India and Canada signed a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA)in 2010 for which a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation was constituted by both the countries.
    • In 2015 when Indian PM visited Canada, the Uranium supply deal has been signed.
    • Energy cooperation agreements were signed in 2018 when the Canadian Prime Minister visited India.
  • Educational Ties between India and Canada
    • India, recently, became the top source of foreign students with  more than 2 lakh Indian students studying in Canada
    • The MoU on Higher Education (2010) with Canada was renewed in February 2018. This MoU focuses on expanding the collaboration in the areas of student and faculty mobility.
    • 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 4 and collaboration between India and Canada.
    • IC-IMPACTS(the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability), which is a Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence dedicated to the development of research collaborations between Canada and India, seeks to bring together researchers, industry innovators, community leaders, government agencies, and community organizations from across India and Canada to work together to find solutions to the key challenges facing the communities.
  • India-Canada Track 1.5 Dialogue
    • The first Canada-India Track 1.5 dialogue on innovation, growth, and prosperity was held in Ottawa in 2018 between Gateway House, Mumbai, and Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Canada. Both sides explored the possibility of future cooperation in the field of cyber security, geoengineering, climate leadership, trade in services, and traditional & non-traditional forms of energy.

Point of contentions

  • Khalistan movement
    • The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement that seeks to create a homeland for the Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state called Khalistān in the Punjab region.
    • This state existed in Punjab from 1709 to 1849.
    • In recent years, India-Canada ties have deteriorated, especially given the view that the current Justin Trudeau administration is soft on individuals and organizations that support the demand for Khalistan.
  • China
    • Common challenges of the COVID-19 era accelerated the momentum of bilateral engagement.
    • Canada’s travails with China, starting with the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada in December 2018.
    • Later, the ‘hostage diplomacy’ practised by Beijing which arrested two Canadian nationals, has caused huge stress in Canada-China relations, turning Canadian public opinion against China.
    • This opened the door to a closer relationship with India.
    • Against this backdrop, developments concerning the Indo-Pacific—  strengthening of the Quad and the growing interest of France, Netherlands and Germany to be active players in the region — are of immense relevance to Canada.
    • The forthcoming dialogue can deepen the India-Canada convergence on this issue.
  • The recent matter of contention between India –Canada Relations
    • Canada and India have long-standing bilateral relations based on shared democratic, pluralistic, and interpersonal values. A growing network of official dialogues, agreements, memorandums of understanding, and working groups strengthens
    • Canada and India’s deep cultural and political ties. Relations between the two countries were strained in December 2020 after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out about farmers protesting in India. It was regarded as an intrusion into India’s internal affairs. Following that, the Indian foreign ministry summoned Canada’s high commissioner to India.
    • In February 2020, Trudeau appeared to play down the issue and praised the government for holding dialogue with the agitating farmers.


  • The course of India-Canada relations never did run smoothly. Ever since they were established, bilateral relations have been buffeted by inimical winds. If at one time it was the nuclear issue, at another time it was Khalistan. This is regrettable considering how much the two countries share – from democratic ideals to multicultural societies, to membership of the Commonwealth and, most of all, to a large Indian Diaspora which, at roughly one million, forms three per cent of Canada’s population.
  • But, notwithstanding their chequered history, India-Canada ties are way bigger than individuals or groups, and much too important to be allowed to slip into disrepair. They have encountered speed bumps in the past but have always managed to bounce back, as bilateral convergences far outweigh divergences. Both sides need to start afresh, build on synergies, and address the irritants.
  • Divided by geographical distance but united through clear common interests and shared values, India and Canada will begin their steady journey of progress, this time with a laser-like focus on common goals as well.
  • There is enough potential for both India and Canada to boost the cooperation and take their relations to the 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
  • The need of the hour is to strengthen mutual trust and confidence, by taking a long-term view of the relationship.

Mains model question

  • Critically examine the roots of the Khalistan movement, its objectives and the causes of its fall.