Tensions between Canada and India have escalated over the assassination of a Sikh independence advocate in June.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was investigating credible allegations that Indian government agents were connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, but India has rejected the allegations as absurd.
India has long demanded that Canada take action against the Sikh independence movement, which is banned in India but has support among the sizable Sikh diaspora populations overseas, including in Canada and the U.K.
Here is a look at the relationship between the countries, by the numbers:
Canada is home to nearly 1.4 million people of Indian ethnic or cultural origin, about 3.7% of the country’s total population, according to the 2021 census.
More than 770,000 people reported their religion as Sikhism, about 2% of Canada’s population, and in 2019, the government designated April as Sikh Heritage Month.
India is the world’s most populous nation with 1.425 billion people as of April, according to the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Sikhs are the majority in the northern state of Punjab state, but only about 1.7% of India’s total population.
With more than $13.7 billion in trade, India was Canada’s 10th largest two-way merchandise trade partner in 2022, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Jean-Pierre J. Godbout said. Canadian merchandise exports to India totaled $5.3 billion, ranking ninth, Godbout said.
But Trudeau had frosty encounters with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Group of 20 meeting in New Delhi. Trade talks have been paused and a planned trade mission to India has been canceled.
Visitors from India rank as Canada’s fourth largest international air travel market, according to the census. In 2021, the 89,500 tourists from India spent $3.4 billion, the most of any group visiting Canada. Canadians visiting India spent $93 million the same year.
In November 2022, Canada and India reached an agreement to remove the restriction on the number of flights between the two countries, which had previously been limited to 35 flights per week.
Of the more than 800,000 international students in Canada at the end of 2022, 40% were from India, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada data.
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