July 2015 \ Cover Story \ Diplomatic Interview
“Our relationship has been taken to a new high after PM Modi’s visit”

Interview with Canadian High Commissioner to India

During the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Canada in April 2015, the two sides agreed to elevate the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership. Your comments.

Well, there are two things. First of all the visit of Prime Minister Modi was a resounding success. It was the first bilateral visit of an Indian Prime Minister in 43 years which in itself was substantial. The two prime ministers clearly built a very strong relationship and see very much eye to eye in terms of economic realizations and seeking security of individuals. Some of the common objectives are very similar. So I think that was a big success. And then, of course, Government to Government cooperation and MoUs, all of that was very successful. A number of announcements were made on the commercial side as well. Prime Minister Modi and his statement to the press at that time essentially said that this is a new era in the relationship. Prime Minister Harper reiterated the same thing. If you look at the uranium deal as an example, this visit reaffirmed the trust that both countries have in each other. The general mindset that I believe strongly is that we can do more together as partners than we can as individual countries. So strategic partnership is a reflection of the relationship in my view and is now at an all time high and has been taken to new heights as a result of the visit of Prime Minister Modi. We have a very strong mandate to build on trade and investment linkages. We are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement and an Investment Agreement, looking at new trade and investment opportunities, looking at some of the other elements. We also have the largest Indian diaspora population around the world, anywhere, on a per capita basis. So what that means is when you have 34 million Canadians as a total population, and 1.2 million of those individuals are of Indian origin—that is almost 4 per cent of our population is of Indian origin—then on a per capita basis it is more than the US, the UK and others as well. So, when you bring all this together, we are already at a new level of collaboration because of all these linkages and strategic partnership. I think it reflects closeness, importance, trust and mutual interest in helping each country grow whether it is in terms of jobs, economic prosperity, and cooperation in multilateral forums.

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