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Unlimited flights between India and Canada given green light in move to rekindle trade ties - FINANCIAL POST

NOVEMBER 15, 2022

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that the government will allow an unlimited number of flights from designated airlines between Canada and India, significantly expanding a deal that previously limited each country to 35 flights per week.

“By making the movement of goods and people faster and easier, this expanded agreement will continue to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and India and help our businesses grow and succeed,” Alghabra said in a statement on Nov. 14.

The agreement gives Canadian airlines — primarily Air Canada, the only airline that does significant business in Asia — access to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, while Indian air carriers get access to Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, and “two additional points to be selected by India,” the government said in the release.

Canada and India have been trying to rekindle trade ties after relations between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and Narendra Modi’s regime hit a rough patch a few years ago over New Delhi’s concern that Ottawa was soft on the separatist movement in the state of Punjab. In March, the two countries “relaunched” negotiations over a trade agreement that had all but stalled after more than a decade. Geopolitical forces also could be at work, as democratic countries such as Canada have begun more aggressively courting India to counter the growing influence of China and the erratic behaviour of nuclear-armed Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February.

Ottawa and New Delhi first reached an agreement on air transport services in 1982, and before Monday’s refreshed deal, it was last expanded in 2011 under Canada’s Blue Sky Policy. The policy, adopted in 2006, set out a framework to guide Canada in pursuing bilateral deals that boost the country’s economy through expanded international air travel for everyone from tourists to entrepreneurs.

India’s consul general, Apoorva Srivastava, said the expanded agreement is an “important development” in the countries’ bilateral dealings, underlining that the foundation of the Canada-India relationship is the “strong people-to-people” ties.

“We have a large Indian diaspora here. Apart from that, we have 700,000 Indian citizens living and working here in Canada,” Srivastava said. “Indian students form the largest chunk of international students coming and studying in Canada. We currently have 230,000 and a lot more ready to come to Canada for educational purposes.”


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