July 19, 2024

As tensions rise between the two nations over the killing of a Sikh community leader, here is a breakdown of their trade and education ties.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are credible allegations that India had a role in the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June in British Columbia province.

The Indian government dismissed the allegations as “absurd” and asked Canada instead to crack down on anti-India groups operating on its territory.

Since then, tensions between Canada and India have escalated, with the row centring around Sikhs who demand a separate homeland, called Khalistan.

Here is a look at the relations between Canada and India:


Canada’s population is about 37 million, of which nearly 1.4 million people are of Indian ethnic or cultural origin, making up about 3.7 percent of the country’s total population, according to the 2021 census.

More than 770,000 people reported their religion as Sikh, accounting for about 2 percent of Canada’s population.

India is the world’s most populous nation with 1.43 billion people as of April, according to the United Nations. Sikhs make up only 1.7 percent of the country’s population with the majority living in the northern state of Punjab.

INTERACTIVE - Canadas Indian population-1695206583
(Al Jazeera)


Canada-India bilateral trade in goods reached nearly $12bn Canadian dollars ($9bn US dollars) in 2022, a substantial 57 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Canadian government.

Major imports from Canada include fertilisers and energy products such as coal, coke and briquettes while India exports consumer goods, garments, engineering products such as auto parts, aircraft equipment and electronic items.

Canada’s top exports to India in 2022 were fossil fuels and related products worth nearly $1bn US, followed by fertilisers worth nearly $748m, and wood pulp and plant fibres worth about $384m, according to Trading Economics/UN Comtrade data.

INTERACTIVE - Canada India bilateral trade-1695214887
(Al Jazeera)

Canada is India’s 17th largest foreign investor, pouring in more than $3.6bn since 2000, while Canadian portfolio investors have invested billions of dollars in Indian stock and debt markets.

Industry estimates show the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Canada and India could boost trade by as much as $6.5bn, yielding a gain in gross domestic product of $3.8bn to $5.9bn for Canada by 2035.


Since 2018, India has been the largest source country for international students in Canada.

In 2022, their number rose 47 percent to nearly 320,000, accounting for about 40 percent of overseas students, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, which also helps universities and colleges provide subsidised education to domestic students.

The share of Canada’s Sikh population has more than doubled in 20 years as a large number of Sikhs have migrated from India in search of higher education and jobs.

(Al Jazeera)

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