New Delhi: Canadian defence minister Anita Anand may visit India later this year to boost defence and security ties between the two countries, according to people aware of the matter. This comes just weeks after minister Anand spoke over the phone with India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Minister Anand’s visit is expected to coincide with the deployment of a Canadian naval frigate to the Indo-Pacific, according to people cited above.

Canada, which typically deploys two frigates to the region, announced in November 2022 that it would deploy an additional frigate to increase its defence presence in the Indo-Pacific. In March, HMCS Montréal, a Canadian frigate, departed from its home base in Halifax and set sail for the Indo-Pacific as part of that pledge. This move mirrors the actions taken by a number of European powers, like Germany and Italy, to establish their footprint in this strategically vital region. Both countries are expected to send more ships to the Indo-Pacific by the end of this year.

Improving defence ties with regional powers, particularly with India, has been a key focus of Canada’s recently released Indo-Pacific strategy. During their bilateral conversation in April, Canadian Defence Minister Anand briefed her Indian counterpart on her country’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

“Both ministers discussed ways to develop bilateral defence relations, which shall be reflective of their democratic ethos and a shared interest in the peace and security of the Indo-Pacific," according to an official statement about the phone call between Singh and Anand.

According to the persons cited above, increased defence exercises between the two countries will also be a key focus of the bilateral security partnership.

The two ministers had also discussed the issue of UN Peacekeeping training during their telephonic conversation. While Canada’s exercises with regional powers have largely been naval, the country hopes to boost air and army exercises in order to modernise and prepare its military.

“Canada will invest 48.7 million dollars to increase the Canadian Armed Forces’ participation in joint exercises with regional allies and partners," announced Minister Anand in a speech detailing the defence edge to her country’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

New Delhi and Ottawa will also look to scale up cooperation between the defence ecosystems in both countries.

“The Raksha Mantri highlighted that India is an attractive defence manufacturing destination with competitive land and labour costs and two defence industrial corridors. He invited Canadian defence companies to invest in India and carry out co-production. They would also find value in integrating Indian defence companies in their global supply chains," as per the statement.

“Canada is a Pacific country, and the Indo-Pacific Region is of crucial importance to our future," minister Anand had said in a speech.