Canadian Prime Minister visits
India next Month
Toronto, Oct 5, 2009
Responding to an invitation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit India next month.
Though no official announcement of the prime minister's visit
has yet been made, Canwest news agency quoted official sources in
Ottawa as saying that Harper will be India Nov 15-18.
During his meetings with the Indian prime minister, Harper will
in all likelihood ink a free trade agreement to boost bilateral
trade between the two countries.
Apart from New Delhi, the Canadian prime minister is also likely
to visit Mumbai and possibly Chennai or Hyderabad as many Canadian
companies are based there, the news agency said.
Both Harper and Singh have extended invitations to each other to
visit their respective countries.
Under Canada's 'look-east' policy since 2003, two prime ministers
have already visited India. While Jean Chretien was in India in
Nov 2003, his successor Paul Martin travelled to India in 2005.
Harper, who took over in 2006, will be the third Canadian prime
minister to visit India.
On the other hand, no Indian prime minister has visited Canada
since I.K. Gujral during his short stint in the office in the late
The visit of the Canadian prime minister assumes significance as
Canada is expanding its business presence in India by opening more
Reversing its policy last year, Canada backed India at the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG) to allow it access to nuclear technology and
fuel. It followed this up in January by resuming nuclear ties with
India which were frozen after New Delhi conducted its first nuclear
test in 1974.
The Canadian nuclear industry is eyeing business worth billion
of dollars through sale of uranium and nuclear technology to India.
"The footprint of Canada is very strong in India and it suggests
that the government is building a foundation on which to really
expand trade, which has been minimal," the news agency quoted
a former political staffer who has been advising the Canadian prime
minister on India as saying.
Since January this year, as many as five Canadian cabinet ministers
have visited India to push up bilateral trade currently pegged at
$4.6 billion. ......IANS