Their province accounts for the bulk of Canada’s commercial relationship with India. But did Saskatoon or Regina or Medicine Hat warrant a stop on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tour of Canada this week? No. Mr. Modi visited Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
There are tens of thousands of Indians in Toronto and Vancouver, but that diaspora largely has failed to inspire strong diplomatic and economic ties between Canada and India. Two-way trade was worth about $6.3 billion (CAD) in 2014, less than 1 per cent of Canada’s total. Canadian foreign direct investment in India was only $600 million. India is the third-largest economy in Asia, but only the 35th biggest recipient of Canadian investment.
These numbers should start every conversation about Canada and India. As he does everywhere he goes, Modi generated considerable buzz this week. One of the 10,000 people who attended his speech in Toronto called him "the icon representing the free democratic world." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper accompanied Modi everywhere he went. It created the impression of a tight partnership. Harper belied that impression when the best example he could come up with of close Canadian-Indian ties was their co-chairmanship of a subcommittee of the G20.
“Despite all of the promise and potential, tangible results have been hard to come by,” Someshwar Rao and Stephen Tapp of the Institute for Research on Public Policy wrote in a blog post on Modi's visit to Canada.