Canada-India : Globalization, Diplomacy, Diaspora and Social Media

Tushar    November 19, 2013

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Canada is fortunate to attract a rich diversity of people. The city of Toronto is a melting pot of cultures from across the world. Statistics show that 1.3 million people of South Asian decent live in Canada.

This is an exciting period in Canada-India relations and deepening the ties. Canada has taken various diplomatics measures to strengthen ties with India. There have been many rounds of trade negotiations between the two countries. Canada has identified core economic opportunities in India in the energy, agriculture, infrastructure and education sectors.

Diplomacy is an important factor in the process of globalization.  While Canada may be open to new investments is there reciprocal openness with other countries ? Along with China, India has one of the fastest growing economies.

Canada-India partnership is fuelled by the Indian diaspora in Canada. The ability of both governments in engaging Indian diaspora will lead to an effective approach in creating new kinds of successful partnerships between both countries.  Partnerships in Education and Industry are driven by: the economics of globalization and the diplomatics ties between the two countries and the Indian diaspora in Canada.

Former Indian Ambassador to Canada, Kant, said that a sector-based focused approach is needed between the two countries. Many Indians who have studied in Canada are uniquely placed to build bridges between the two countries.

Youth have a significant role to play in strengthening Canada-India relations.  Youth live the new global world with social media being a part and parcel of their life.  Indo- Canada Chamber of Commerce has made active attempts to include the youth in its projects and by actively involving them in discussions on improving Canada-India relations. Other Indian diaspora based organizations such as Canada-India Foundation and Indian Institute of Technology Alumni Canada are creating new programs that allow trade and investment between the two two countries. Mi-100 is one such program that helps startup companies in India to come to Canada as well as Canadian companies sttartup operations in India.

The convergence of technology has made the globe into a small place. It does not matter today if one lives in Toronto or Bangalore. Social media has accelerated the pace of real-time connectivity amongst people living in any part of the world.  As long as there is a mobile network or internet connectivity two individuals can communicate in real-time. Thomas Friedman, in his book, The World is Flat, gives a historic perspective of the flattening of the world occurred and how it is unfolding in front of us.  It no longer matters where one lives. All that matters is where one wants to live and how one wants to live.

The confluence of globalization, diplomacy and diaspora brings together multiple perspectives and transformative collaborative programs are possible using social media as a platform. Social Media is emerging as an integrator and new frameworks and applications are being created to address its meaningful use. Some community-building applications that build on these trends are: Nation Builder and Citizen Center. Both of them are startups and have ventured into this new space.

Nation Builder is a community-building platform that combines people, websites and their communications. It is meant for all kinds of organizations including not-for-profits, all kinds of people including political leaders, social leaders and citizens who would like to create a change in the communities they live in. Citizen Center is another community-building platform that helps citizens connect with the elected leaders of their community.  This is a good space for startups to explore as social media offers the tools and technology to create platforms for international relationships by integrating globalization, diplomacy and diaspora citizens.

Lessons for others:

The future of Canada-India relationship will be driven by globalization, diplomacy and Indian diaspora. The use of social media applications in the future will play a key role that will influence in better collaboration and improving Canada-India ties.

Web References:

Deepening Canada-India Ties: Kasi Rao

Strengthening Canada-India Partnership – Kant Bhargava and Anita Singh

The World Is Flat – Thomas Friedman

How social networking is changing foreign policy

Submitted by: Tushar Goteti – SMBP Student University of Waterloo.

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