Ottawa: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he hoped to make his three-day visit to Canada “a springboard” to take the bilateral partnership in trade, investment and innovation to a new level, and that both sides would resume commercial cooperation in civil nuclear energy.
Modi in an Op-Ed piece in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday said that “after more than four decades, an Indian prime minister is visiting Ottawa”.
“Our relationship has been adrift in the past. The potential of our partnership remained a promise on a distant shore. However, in recent years, India and Canada have begun rediscovering each other. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has led with great vision to chart a new, more purposeful course in our relationship. As in Canada, the relationship enjoys broad political support in India.”
He said both will “encourage and facilitate closer engagement between our industries”.
Modi added both sides would “benefit immensely” by early conclusion of a Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
On civil nuclear energy, Modi said: “During this visit, our two countries will resume commercial co-operation in civil nuclear energy after decades. This will be a defining symbol of our mutual trust and understanding, and of our willingness to look beyond the boundaries of the past to the opportunities of the future.”
Modi, who is to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper for talks, said that both Canada and India can harness their synergies in science and technology to develop affordable solutions to the challenges of our food security, health and climate change.
Bilateral cooperation in education and skills “will prepare the global work force for tomorrow”, he wrote.
The bilateral relationship is “of growing strategic value”, he added.
“In a troubled world, countries with similar values seek each other with natural instincts. India and Canada are on the opposite sides of the globe, but we have shared interests and face many common challenges”.
Modi said the “changing character and growing reach of terrorism have made cities and communities across the world more vulnerable. India and Canada must strengthen their cooperation and seek a comprehensive global response to terrorism. We must also prepare ourselves for the challenges in the cyberworld and outer space”.
He said that Canada “is a major Asia-Pacific country and should play a more active role, including in regional institutions, in promoting a stable and prosperous future for the region. Our partnership helps advance the cause of global economic revival in the G20. Canada’s leadership secured India its observer status in the Arctic Council”.
Modi said that as Gujarat chief minister, he has “experienced the strength and value of Canada’s partnership”.
“I seek the same for India. In turn, as Canada looks west to the Pacific and Asia, she will find no stronger partner than India in the dynamic region. The success of our partnership will also reinforce our shared ideals in the world, which is so important for its peaceful, sustainable and prosperous future,” he said.
Modi will visit Toronto on Thursday and Vancouver the following day during the visit.