Modi and Harper in Ottawa. PMO photo by Jason Ransom
Modi and Harper in Ottawa.
PMO photo by Jason Ransom

नया उत्साह; नए कदम: New Vigour: New Steps


Canadian Prime Minister the Right Honourable Stephen Harper hosted the Prime Minister of India the Honourable Narendra Modi who is undertaking an historic bilateral visit to Canada, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 42 years, including Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver on 14-16 April 2015. The visit comprises extensive engagement with Canada’s political, business and academic leadership and robust interactions with the Indian diaspora. It included a call on the Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.


Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper met in Ottawa on 15 April 2015, and held detailed discussions to assess the full spectrum of bilateral relations and exchanged perspectives on a range of regional and international issues of mutual interest. They noted the historic significance of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada in advancing bilateral ties to a new level marked with “नया उत्साह: नए कदम – New Vigour: New Steps”. The two Prime Ministers agreed to elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.


Bilateral Relations


Prime Minister Modi commended Prime Minister Harper for his leadership in renewing the momentum of the bilateral relationship through his visits to India in 2009 and 2012. This momentum was maintained by the Governor General of Canada’s state visit to India in 2014. The two leaders welcomed the continuing diversification, growth and deepening of bilateral relations in recent years, rooted in shared values of democracy, pluralism, tolerance, human rights and rule of law, and based on expanding economic engagement and long-standing people-to-people ties. They also agreed to hold regular discussions including on the margins of international meetings.


The leaders agreed to take concrete measures to expand bilateral cooperation in key areas including the economy, trade and investment, civil nuclear cooperation, energy, education and skills development, agriculture, defence and security, science, technology, innovation and space, culture, people-to-people ties, and regional and global issues.


Economy, Trade and Investment


The Prime Ministers recognized that bilateral business and commercial linkages constitute key drivers of the wide ranging India-Canada partnership. In this regard, Prime Minister Harper commended Prime Minister Modi for his forward-looking vision of energizing the Indian economy and welcomed the policy measures and specific initiatives taken to improve the ease of doing business in India. They also appreciated the role played by the bilateral business community in both countries in promoting commercial partnerships between India and Canada.


In this context, the Prime Ministers noted that specific initiatives launched by Prime Minister Modi such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Affordable Housing for all by 2022’ and ‘Smart Cities’ offered significant collaborative commercial opportunities for Indian and Canadian businesses and industry. They also noted that Canada’s prioritization of India in its Global Markets Action Plan aligned well with bilateral objectives.


The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the need to elevate two-way trade and investment linkages to their full potential. They agreed to pursue specific measures to diversify and deepen bilateral trade and investment cooperation to increase the two way flow of goods and services.


They recognized that early finalization of the Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is an important step in realizing the shared objective of enhanced trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. They welcomed the progress made in the recent bilateral discussions between treaty negotiators and agreed to intensify discussions to finalize the outstanding issues.


They also welcomed the agreement on a road map to expeditiously conclude a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement as a basis for significantly expanding two-way trade and investment and directed the negotiators to prioritize its finalization.


Noting the important role of movement of professionals in boosting bilateral trade, investment and people-to-people ties, the Prime Ministers agreed that both sides will hold a dialogue in this field to facilitate greater bilateral cooperation.


Recognizing Canadian commercial engagement, the Prime Ministers expressed support for bilateral partnerships for urban transformation and smart city development which would leverage Canadian expertise in a number of relevant fields including, public private partnerships, intelligent transportation systems, civil engineering and urban planning, water and wastewater management, pre-cast and wood construction, energy technology and efficiency and affordable housing.


The Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Rail Transportation between India’s Ministry of Railways and Transport Canada, dealing with technical cooperation. The leaders also welcomed the finalization of an MoU on Civil Aviation between Transport Canada and India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, which will establish a Joint Working Group to bring together key industry and Government stakeholders to advance opportunities for cooperation in civil aviation.


The Prime Ministers took positive note of the useful discussions in the Economic and Financial Sector Policy Dialogue held on 13 February 2015 in New Delhi. The two sides agreed to establish a Finance Ministers Dialogue for the purpose of deepening the India-Canada economic and financial relationship.


Civil-Nuclear Cooperation


The Prime Ministers underscored the considerable potential for mutually-beneficial civil nuclear cooperation. They welcomed the signing of an Agreement between the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India and Cameco of Canada for long-term supply of uranium to India to meet its energy needs. They recognized that the agreement would impart a new significance to India-Canada Civil Nuclear Cooperation.


The Prime Ministers agreed to encourage a collaborative programme to leverage their industries’ respective strengths in the field of Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor technology for mutual benefit, as well as for the benefit of global nuclear energy needs.


They also encouraged closer cooperation in civil nuclear energy between their companies and welcomed the setting up of the India Nuclear Insurance Pool with potential participation of foreign companies as a positive step towards facilitating such cooperation.


They noted the planned Canadian civil nuclear trade mission to India in October 2015.  They also agreed to explore mutually beneficial partnerships in the application of radio-isotopes for societal benefits.


The Prime Ministers, recognizing the importance of taking the collaboration in nuclear science and technology to the next level, encouraged their respective atomic energy establishments and research institutions to establish mechanisms for long-term and mutually beneficial R&D collaboration in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


The Prime Ministers agreed to exchange experiences and developments on safety and regulatory issues. To take this forward, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have finalized an arrangement for regulatory cooperation in the field of nuclear and radiation safety regulation.




The Prime Ministers noted the significant opportunities available to expand bilateral trade and investment in energy and resources as well as related technologies and services.  They welcomed efforts underway to deepen cooperation on energy through the Canada-India Ministerial Energy Dialogue and other mechanisms, and agreed to encourage enhanced commercial cooperation between companies in the energy sector. While recognizing the significant scope and wide ranging potential for cooperation in this field between governments and the private sector, the Prime Ministers agreed to further collaboration in areas such as energy efficiency and innovation, oil and gas development, exchange of regulatory best practices, renewable energy, and nuclear energy.


The Prime Ministers noted the strong complementarities between Canada, a responsible resource producer with the potential to become an energy exporter to new markets such as India, and India, which is looking to Canada to enhance its energy security by diversifying its sources of supply. To advance cooperation in this important sector, the Prime Ministers welcomed the convening of the next Ministerial meeting of the India-Canada Energy Dialogue by the end of 2015.


The Prime Ministers welcomed the decision by Indian Oil Corporation to invest in a proposed new liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia.


Education and Skills Development


The Prime Ministers identified education as one of the key areas of priority for bilateral engagement and agreed to focus on greater student, faculty and people-to-people exchanges. They affirmed that cooperation in education should focus on building the quality of human resources in both countries. Theynoted that India is a priority country under Canada’s International Education Strategy


In this context, the Prime Ministers welcomed Canada’s partnership in the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) of India to enable Canadian researchers to cooperate in learning, research and teaching in select Indian educational institutions.  They also welcomed the first co-funded student exchange programme through the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme and Canada’s Mitacs Globalink Program.


The Prime Ministers noted the socio-economic opportunities inherent in India’s ambitious goals of skills development. In this regard, they welcomed the 13 MoUs between the National Skill Development Council of India and 13 Canadian colleges, institutes, and Sector Skills Councils in the fields of agriculture, apparel and textiles, automotive, aviation, construction, green economy, healthcare, hydrocarbons, IT, telecom and electronics, sports sector, and water.


The two leaders agreed to renew the Canada-India MoU on Higher Education on a rolling basis.




The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of intensifying and facilitating bilateral collaboration in the area of agriculture and agrifood, including continued collaboration in fertilizers, as well as in the fields of cold chain management, animal development, dryland farming, food processing technologies and agricultural sustainability. They noted interest from both countries to hold discussions to negotiate a bilateral organic equivalency arrangement. They welcomed the setting-up of the Plant Health Technical Working Group, as a sub group of the MoU on agriculture cooperation to promote trade in plants, plant products and other regulated articles by facilitating science-based discussions related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues.


Defence and Security


The Prime Ministers agreed that terrorism, extremism and radicalization present security challenges to the peace, stability and prosperity of the two countries and humanity as a whole. They reaffirmed their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called for further efforts to eliminate terrorist safe havens and infrastructure; dismantle terrorist networks, their support systems and financing; and stem the cross-border movement of terrorists.


The Prime Ministers affirmed the need to expand and deepen their continuing cooperation in countering terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism through joint efforts, and greater cooperation between their relevant government departments, including in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, joint research, countering narcotics and Improvised Explosive Devices. In this regard, they welcomed the recent meeting between the Indian and Canadian National Security Advisers and the Plan of Action agreed during the 13th meeting of the India-Canada Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism held in New Delhi on 19 March 2015. The two Prime Ministers took positive note of the productive dialogue on security issues held under the leadership of their respective Deputy National Security Advisors and looked forward to the outcomes of the next round of the Dialogue.


The Prime Ministers agreed to intensify bilateral engagement and exchange perspectives on emerging threats to national security, including in the cyber domain. In this context, they welcomed the signing of the MoU between the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada on Cooperation in the Area of Cyber Security. Recognizing the importance of a free, open and secure internet they welcomed the commitment to a broader framework for future dialogue on cyber issues.


The Prime Ministers recognized defence cooperation as an important element of the overall bilateral security cooperation. To this end, they agreed to explore cooperative possibilities in diverse fields including cold climate warfare, peacekeeping, and participation in respective Defence Staff College training. They also agreed to explore further cooperation in enhancing naval linkages, and staff exchanges.


They also welcomed the signing of the Statement of Intent between Defence Research and Development Organisation of India and Defence Research and Development Canada, aimed at exploring potential cooperative initiatives in defence and security science and technology.


Science, Technology, Innovation, and Space


The Prime Ministers appreciated the ongoing bilateral cooperation in science, technology and innovation and its role in improving the lives of their citizens. They noted several successful Indo-Canadian research and development projects and their benefits to the larger society. They took particular note of the partnership between the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) and the National Mission for Clean Ganga to find innovative technological solutions to clean the river Ganga; the ‘Water for Health’ collaboration between Indian’s Department of Biotechnology and IC-IMPACTS; and the ‘Safe and Sustainable Infrastructure’ and ‘Integrated Water-Management’ initiatives with the Indian Department of Science and Technology. The Leaders agreed to support further joint projects on Safe and Sustainable Infrastructure and Integrated Water Management and public health.


In order to facilitate enhanced cooperation in all these areas, the two leaders welcomed the convening of the biennial meeting of the 5th Canada-India Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee in June 2015 and urged the Committee to explore new mechanisms to further augment bilateral engagement in science, technology and innovation. The Prime Ministers re-affirmed their commitment to joint industrial research and development projects through the International Science and Technology Partnership Program, and endorsed the annual contribution of CAD $1 million by both countries. They alsowelcomed the inclusion of Canadian and Indian startups in the Canadian Technology Accelerator initiative. Canada welcomed India’s offer to be a Partner Country in the 2017 Technology Summit to be hosted by India.


The Prime Ministers recognized the importance of improving maternal, newborn and child health, which is a development priority for both countries, and welcomed an investment of CAD $2.5 million in five health innovations in India by Grand Challenges Canada and its Indian partner – the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology. India and Canada have also agreed to accelerate ongoing efforts towards the elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis in India by jointly supporting an existing Grand Challenges Canada project.


Recognizing India’s satellite launch capabilities and Canada’s expertise in satellites and astronomy, the Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the rapid expansion and intensification of India-Canada space cooperation, including the launch of Canadian satellites. They welcomed the renewal of the MoU on Space Cooperation between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Canadian Space Agency.


With a shared interest in promoting collaborative research in frontier areas of science, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the proposed collaboration between the the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) of India, and the Stem Cell Network of Canada in stem cell research, including possible research student exchanges.


In the interest of public health and recognizing the need to strengthen bilateral engagement and exchange information in the areas of safety, efficacy, and quality of therapeutic products, including cellular therapy products, as well as on traditional medicines, the Prime Ministers agreed to establish a dialogue between relevant federal departments of the two countries in order to facilitate cooperation.


Culture and People-to-People Ties


The two Prime Ministers recognized the central and dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the Canada-India partnership, noting and appreciating in particular the growing community of more than one million Canadians of Indian origin and their contributions to both societies. Both leaders emphasized the need to further invigorate bilateral people-to-people contacts. In this regard they welcomed progress towards the renewal of an MoU on Cultural Cooperation between Canada and India, and Canada’s proposal to hold the Year of Canada in India in 2017.


The leaders looked forward to the entry into force of the Canada-India Social Security Agreement on August 1, 2015.


Highlighting the important role of increasing connectivity to grow commercial and people-to-people links, the Prime Ministers welcomed the resumption of non-stop air links between Canada and India, commencing November 2015.


Recognizing the importance of bilateral parliamentary exchanges, the Prime Ministers agreed to encourage further reciprocal visits by parliamentary delegations.


Regional and Global Issues 


The Prime Ministers assessed the emerging regional and global strategic landscape, including in particular, the evolution of terrorist threats globally, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the implications for regional stability, and supporting reconciliation and economic recovery in Afghanistan.


Recalling their initial meeting at the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014, the Prime Ministers affirmed the ongoing importance of cooperative efforts through the G20 to promote global growth and prosperity.


Recognizing Canada’s commitment to development in South Asia, Prime Minister Modi took note of Canada’s interest in having observer status in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Prime Minister Harper welcomed India’s ongoing interest in and contributions on Arctic issues, particularly through India’s observer status in the Arctic Council.


The two leaders underlined their shared commitment to a world without nuclear weapons and reaffirmed their support for global efforts towards non-proliferation and elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Canada recognizes India’s non-proliferation record and continues to support India’s early application and membership of the four multilateral export control regimes.


In this the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, as global partners the Prime Ministers affirmed the desirability of reforming the United Nations to strengthen its ability to address contemporary global challenges more effectively through concrete outcomes.


Canada and India share a commitment to advancing human rights, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.


The Prime Minister of India thanked the Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Laureen Harper for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. Prime Minister Modi invited Prime Minister Harper and Mrs. Laureen Harper to visit India again. The invitation was accepted with gratitude.