Apr 15, 2015
Prime Minister Harper and Members of Media,
I am delighted to visit this beautiful country and this charming city.
I attach the highest importance to India’s relations with Canada.
This has been reinforced by my excellent experience with Canada as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Our relationship had drifted in the past. In recent years, Prime Minister Harper’s vision and leadership changed the course of our relations.
I am conscious of the significance of this visit in the history of our relations.
I have come at a time when the importance of this relationship for our two countries has never been stronger.
We are two major democracies with deeply shared values.
Few countries in the world can match Canada’s potential to be a partner in India’s economic transformation. And, it exists in a new environment in India, which is open, predictable, stable and easy to do business in.
Equally, the vast scale of India’s transformation, and our rapid economic growth, offers immense opportunities for Canada.
I seek Canada’s cooperation and investment in every area of India’s national development priority,- Energy and Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Skills, Smart Cities and agro-industry, and Research and Education.
Prime Minister Harper and I are absolutely committed to establish a new framework for economic partnership. I am pleased that we have made rapid progress on long pending agreements.
I am confident that we can conclude the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement very soon. We will also implement the road map to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement by September 2015.
The thirteen agreements on skill development reflect my commitment to empower the youth of India with world class skills for India and the global economy.
The agreement on procurement of uranium from Canada for our civilian nuclear power plants launches a new era of bilateral nuclear cooperation.
It also reflects a new level of mutual trust and confidence. Further, it will contribute to India’s efforts to power its growth with clean energy.
As the agreement today on Space highlights, we have strong synergy for cooperation in areas of advanced technologies.
To support greater engagement and people-to-people contacts, we have liberalised our visa policy for Canada. We will issue Electronic Visa Authorisation for tourist visa for Canadian nationals. They will also be eligible for ten-year visas now.
Prime Minister and I agree that a strong bilateral relationship will provide a solid foundation to pursue our common international interests.
We also agree that in the troubled world of today, our cooperation will help advance our shared values and peace in the world.
We in India felt Canada’s pain when this city was struck by a senseless act of terrorism.
The threat of terrorism is growing; its shadow extends over cities and lives across the world.
We will deepen our cooperation to combat terrorism and extremism. We will also promote a comprehensive global strategy, and consistent policy and action against all sources of terrorism and its support.
We also agree on the need to enhance our defence and security cooperation. I welcome our recent agreement on cyber security.
We both recognise that peace and stability in West Asia will make us safer at home; so will Afghanistan’s successful transition.
I believe that Canada is a major Asia Pacific power and should play a more active role, including in regional institutions, in promoting a stable and prosperous future for the region.
I look forward to our continued partnership in G 20.
In conclusion, let me say that ours is a natural partnership of shared values.
It is an economic partnership of immense mutual benefit.
It is a strategic partnership that can help address many of our shared global challenges.
And, it is a relationship nurtured by the emotional bonds of a vibrant Indian community of 1.2 million.
I am confident that this visit will be a springboard for a new strategic partnership between our two democracies.
Finally, Prime Minister has been most gracious and generous in choosing to go with me to Ottawa and Vancouver. I also thank him for returning to us a precious piece of our heritage.
There is no better evidence of his commitment to our relationship. There will be no better way for me to experience this country’s huge diversity.