Address by EAM

Address by EAM at a Reception by Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) together with Consul General of India (CGI)
[18 June 2012, Toronto]


Hon'ble Ministers Harinder Tahkar, Kathleen Wynne and Margarett Best,

Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament,

President of Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Mr. Satish Thakkar

High Commissioner Shri S.M. Gavai,

Consul General Smt Preeti Saran,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be present at this evening reception hosted by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce together with the Consulate General of India in Toronto. I place on record my sincere appreciation to Mr. Satish Thakkar, President, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce for his gracious invitation to me to meet with you all.

It is indeed a special occasion for me as I get to meet and interact with Friends of India and other members of the vibrant Indo-Canadian community. You are an important asset in our relations with Canada – a country with which we share a close bilateral relationship based on our shared values of democracy, pluralism, multiculturalism and tolerance.

A series of recent high level visits have raised the political profile of our relations. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Harper are keen to advance the bilateral relationship to the next high level. We are currently discussing a number of important bilateral agreements, including a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. A concerted effort is underway to transform the bilateral relationship by infusing greater economic content into it.

Last year was a landmark year in our relations with Canada, as we celebrated the Year of India in Canada. The Year of India was not just about showcasing India's vibrant and rich culture. It was a celebration of India-Canada relationship. It highlighted the tremendous space that exists for taking this relationship to even greater heights.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Canada, organised in partnership with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, was an important component of the celebration of the Year of India in Canada. The very fact that the mini-PBD was held in Canada is a recognition and acknowledgment of the important role of the Indo-Canadian community in building bridges between our two countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

India today is at a historic phase when the world is witnessing profound changes. The socio -economic transformation in India with over one billion people, within a democratic framework, will have enormous contribution to make for the rest of the world. It could become an anchor of stability and opportunity for the global economy.

Despite the global economic crisis, the Indian economy has shown resilience and managed to grow at 6.9 percent last year. We are confident of resuming higher growth rates in the coming years. We have initiated measures to harness the creativity of our young population- with 50% of the population below the age of 25 years, to drive innovation-led inclusive growth. This will assist us to sustain growth and help alleviate poverty in India.

There is also an external dimension to India's growth story. Our economic future will depend to a large extent on global peace, stability and security. Our foreign policy always had a broad and open outlook. Thanks to our economic growth and development over the last two decades, we now also have increased capabilities and capacities to contribute to global peace and security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have today a broad-based agenda of cooperation with major countries and regions of the world. In Asia, which is fast becoming the center of global opportunities and challenges of the 21st century, India is seen as an anchor of moderation and stability.

Our economic fundamentals are strong with a regulated banking sector, high savings rate, a vibrant private sector and an economy that is largely driven by domestic demands. We have introduced extensive reforms and liberalised our economy to allow participation of external partners. Our government has developed an ambitious plan of investing over one trillion US Dollars in the next five years for infrastructure development alone. We, therefore, see new and exciting possibilities for India and Canada to work together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I deeply value the contribution that all of you have made in transforming the bilateral relationship to one that is forward looking and with high level of substance. I take this opportunity to invite you and through you the Canadian industries and businesses to be part of India's growth story, especially in important sectors such as mining, agriculture, agro-processing, education, infrastructure and energy, where Canada has immense strengths.

I thank you all.

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