Asian Regionalism: Canadian and Indian Perspectives

Charan Wadhva
Yuen Pau Wu
Centre for Policy Research

Canada and India are in many ways natural partners – two middle powers sharing a common political and legal tradition derived from the British Commonwealth, as well as a commitment to multiculturalism, democracy and international institutions. India’s founding Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a personal friendship with Canadian Prime Ministers Trudeau and Pearson. Despite this promising start, bilateral relations never took flight – a function of Cold War politics, India’s relative isolation through much of the post-independence period, the enormous distance between the two countries, and deep disagreements over India’s testing of nuclear weapons in 1974 and 1998. By the start of the new millennium India and Canada were ready to embard on a new phase in bilateral relations – one defined not only by trade and investment interests, but also by a contemporary understanding of their standing in the world, and the potential contribution that both countries can make to issues of regional and global significance.In leading the shift to a new way of thinking about Canada-India relations, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi launched the “Track 2” Canada-India Policy Dialogue series in 2003. These annual meetings provide a venue for scholars, policy analysts, business people, and civil society representatives to discuss issues that are of mutual interest to Canada and India going well beyond the limitations of official dialogue.This volume contains papers and policy recommendations from the first two dialogues and is organsied into three sections: Perspectives on Regional Integration in Asia, Perspectives on the WTO and Doha Development Agenda, and Strengthening Canada-India Bilateral Relations. These essays break new ground in identifying areas of mutual interest and provide a glimpse into the potential for stronger and deeper Canada-India ties.

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