The Indo- Canada Civil Nuclear Accord which was announced on 28 NOV 2009, after meeting between our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephan Harper, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Port Of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, is not merely a pre-cursor of a civilian nuclear deal, which would be finalized in the forthcoming tour of our PM to Canada will be a “turning point” in bilateral relationship of both countries. It will be more than a “diplomatic handshake”, paving way for a wide gamut of bilateral co-operation between the two nations, which from the very beginning itself, have a very deep and dynamic relationship due to “common values and shared tradition of democracy, the rule of law, pluralism and strong people to people contact”.
Our civil nuclear co-operation and bilateral relations with Canada are very interesting to analyze, as history is the evidence that both are protagonist to each other and both work in resonance to each other. It would not be exaggeration to state that both are the two facets of the same coin in regard to India. If we search the pages of history we will find that we had a very good bilateral relations with Canada from the very beginning which started deteriorating after India test fired her first nuclear Bomb in 1974. The fact that flabbergast all of us is that consequent improvement in our bilateral relations with Canada is again due to a nuclear issue, but the astonishing fact is that, this time it is for a peaceful purpose i.e. Indo-Canada Civil Nuclear Co-operation.
Canada has been one of our most trusted and most co-operative friend in the international arena. Our beginning in civil nuclear sector was initiated by Canada, when in 1963 and 1966, Canada gave us two CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) Reactor. Canada also promised to give us CIRUS. Moreover, till today, we are using cloned version of the same 2 CANDU Reactors. One more interesting fact to note is that, only India and Canada are the only countries in the world which use Heavy Water Technology, so this deal will be more beneficial for India as compared to Nuclear Deal signed with 7 other countries till today, which are USA, France, Russia, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia because both the countries use same nuclear technology which is not the case with other countries. Moreover, we also have to consider that Canada is the biggest exporter of Uranium in the world. Even though we have signed nuclear co-operation agreement with 7 countries, only France has sent us the First Consignment of Nuclear Fuel and due to consequent lack of availability of nuclear fuel, out of all civil nuclear installations in India, only 3 are now working efficiently i.e. having a Comparison Utilisation Factor (i.e. Cf ) of more than 68.5 %.The added benefit of this accord is that Canada is ready to provide nuclear fuel to India right after the Civil Nuclear Deal is ratified by both countries.
In terms of technology transfer, this deal has many things to offer to both countries which would further augment our bilateral and economic relations. Since, we are expected to face energy crisis in the forthcoming future as most of our energy generation is from depleting non-renewable sources of energy, Canada can help us to solve our energy crisis by providing advanced nuclear technology along with nuclear fuel. We also have to consider that we are planning to import nuclear reactors upto 20,000 MW of capacity in next 10 years. Since, Canada is the 5th largest producer of energy in the world, which gives importance to renewable sources of energy, Canada can then also help us in solar, wind and bio-fuel energy and municipal waste management. In short, Canada can help us in generating sustainable and alternative energy and environment technologies which can ultimately help us in fighting Global Warming. Canada can also help us in water resource management as she is the pioneer in this field and maximum amount of potable water in world is found in Canada. Further, help can be sought in the field of earth science and disaster management as a whole. Besides, Canada is one of the pioneers in the fields of bio-technology, health sciences, bio-medical engineering, nano-sciences and nano-medicine, which can help us a lot. Canada has a lot to offer in automobile industry as for example, BOMBARDIER which is a Canadian firm, is coach manufacturer for Delhi Metro. Besides this, the IT and multi-media industry of Canada has a plethora of opportunities to offer. This deal will pave way for multi-sectoral co-operation between India and Canada.
On the other hand, in the age of globalization, since the bilateral relations are now being governed by economic co-operations, and in this sector Canada has a plethora of avenues to offer. According to 2008 data, bilateral trade between the 2 countries was US $ 4.62 billion, whereas Canada’s export to India was US $ 2.42 billion and import form India was US $ 2.2. billion. Canada accounts for 1.2 % of India total exports and 0.9 % of India’s total imports, where 5 major thrust areas are:- Power, Energy and Environment Product and Services, Oil and Gas, Telecommunication and IT and Financial Sector ( including insurance ). India is Canada’s largest trading partner in South Asia, and is Canada’s 18th largest export market. Indian FDI in Canada by software manufactures and other industries is sure to increases rapidly as Canada has now removed overseas investment ceiling of US $ 100 million. Canadian FDI in India reached Cdn $ 144 million and Indian FDI in Canada has now reached Cdn $ 29 million. Our foreign exchange earning from Canadian tourists is also increasing day by day.
Canada has many things to offer in the educational sector as well as it offers as many fellowships to students as U.S.A. offers and has some of the best colleges and universities in the world. In a nutshell, both countries have potential for mutual financial gains after ratifying the said deal.
Besides this, Canada can help us in fighting terrorism with advanced intelligence sharing and other means. Moreover, Canada can be a trusted partner in diplomacy at the international arena such as UNO, IAEA, NSG et al. For example, Canada supported us in unequivocal terms in IAEA and NSG when we had to take approval from IAEA and clear cut waiver from NSG.
Since, more than 1 million Canadians are of Indian ancestry, there lies a strong people to people contact, which can further foster cultural exchange to strengthen our bond of friendship.
To sum up, this nuclear co-operation agreement will prove to be a “milestone” in the forthcoming future and it will initiate a new era of bilateral co-operation between the two nations. It is a “Win-Win Situation” for both the countries. Hope this deal will be signed and ratified as soon as possible!!!