Ottawa, Ontario: Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, today witnessed the signing and finalization of six significant initiatives between Canada and India that will help to further advance bilateral relations between the two countries. They were joined by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade.
Harper and Modi Wednesday also attended a reception at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum to celebrate the special relationship that exists between Canada and India. The event was part of Modi’s two-day visit to Canada, which includes stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
Hosted by the National Alliance of Indo-Canadians and attended by parliamentarians, dignitaries and members of Canada’s vast and vibrant Indian diaspora, the event provided Prime Minister Harper with the opportunity to pay tribute to a community that contributes so much to Canada’s cultural richness and economic strength. In his remarks,Modi expressed his continued commitment to further cementing the already strong bonds that unite Canada and India.
The historic visit by Prime Minister Modi to Canada combined with the number and scope of agreements signed today between our governments clearly demonstrate the commitment of both countries to taking bilateral relations to new heights – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
The initiatives announced today will promote greater collaboration between the two countries in the areas of civil aviation, railway transportation, education and skills development, space, social security and maternal, newborn and child health.
Canada and India have longstanding bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy and pluralism, and on strong interpersonal connections with the approximately 1.2 million Indian diaspora community in Canada.
With bilateral merchandise trade valued at $6.3 billion in 2014 and bilateral service trade at over $1.5 billion in 2013, a market of more than 1.2 billion people, and a predicted economic growth of 7.5 per cent in 2015, India represents exciting opportunities for Canadian businesses.
The stock of two-way foreign direct investment (FDI) between Canada and India totaled approximately $4.4 billion in 2013. Of this, the stock of FDI in Canada from India is nearly $3.8 billion and the stock of Canadian FDI in India stood at $613 million.
New initiatives between Canada and India
Transport Canada will finalize a memorandum of understanding with India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation that will promote collaboration and cooperation in areas such as airport development, planning and management; aircraft certification; regional and general aviation development; aviation safety and security; and skills development. It will also create a civil aviation working group, bringing together industry stakeholders from both countries.
Transport Canada signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Railways that will foster communication, sharing of information and exchange of best practices in rail transportation, and help create potential opportunities for Canadian private sector investment in rail development projects in India.
Education and Skills Development
Thirteen memoranda of understanding were signed between India’s National Skill Development Council and Canadian colleges and institutes in the fields of agriculture, apparel and textiles, automotive, aviation, construction, green economy, healthcare, hydrocarbons, information technology, telecom and electronics, sports sector, and water.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signed an updated memorandum of understanding with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that will in part recognize Indian launch capabilities for Canadian satellites. A memorandum of understanding between ISRO and the CSA on cooperation regarding outer space was first signed in 1996.
Social Security Agreement
The entry-into-force of the Canada-India Social Security Agreement will help eligible individuals qualify for retirement, disability or survivor benefits, and enable employees from Canada who are sent to work temporarily in India to continue to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan and be exempt from contributing to the Employees’ Pension Scheme of India.
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Grand Challenges Canada and India’s Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology announced an investment of $2.5 million toward five innovative projects on newborn and early childhood development in India.