As India continues to grow, the recent slowdown notwithstanding, its need for natural resources shows no signs of ebbing. With New Delhi increasingly turning to resource-rich developed countries for energy and food security, Canada’s profile in particular seems to have grown considerably. Significant unconventional hydrocarbon resources, high-quality uranium deposits, abundant land and a lack of geopolitical risk all make Canada a natural partner to feed India’s rise. However, there are still some issues that need to be resolved before an even deeper relationship can take root.
The outlook was not always so rosy. Canada was the first country to withdraw from nuclear trade with India after New Delhi’s first nuclear test in 1974, piqued that India had used plutonium from a research reactor built with Canadian collaboration for that demonstration. Today, however, India and Canada have a nuclear agreement in place, signed in 2010, that even allows India to stockpile uranium and opens the way for jointly marketing civil nuclear products and services to third parties.
These markers of mutual confidence are accompanied by rising bilateral trade and investment. Although India-Canada trade currently stands at a modest $6 billion, both sides are looking to raise it to $15 billion by 2015. A comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), currently under negotiation, is expected to facilitate this by removing nontariff barriers to trade, easing movement of professionals and rationalizing existing tariff lines.