Vibrant Gujarat: Canada and India use biennial summit to further strengthen economic ties

Chris Alexander meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chris Alexander meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

CITIZENSHIP and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander on Friday concluded a busy and successful trip to India, which saw a number of important advances in our bilateral relationship.

Alexander led the largest-ever Canadian delegation to the Vibrant Gujarat conference, where he helped promote the abundant investment opportunities in the transportation, natural resource and energy sectors, the strength of our post-secondary academic institutions, and the benefit of Canada’s new Express Entry system.

In a series of meetings and speeches, Alexander highlighted innovation and opportunity as the cornerstones for expanded ties between Canada and India. In a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two agreed to explore new ways of working together to promote security and combat terrorism. They looked forward to Modi’s first official visit to Canada later in 2015.

In Bengaluru (Bangalore), Alexander officially opened a new Canadian visa office. There are now three such offices in India, served by 10 visa application centres throughout the country. This reaffirms Canada’s commitment to meeting the high demand of travel facilitation with India, and will build on impressive growth in visa issuance in recent years.

Alexander completed his trip in Chennai where he facilitated talks with students and faculty from one of India’s most prestigious academic institutions – the Indian Institute of Technology. Earlier in the trip, he also delivered a presentation to students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Management. Alexander used these opportunities and others to promote Express Entry and the benefit of the Start-up Visa Program.

* India is one of the top source countries for immigrants to Canada. The Indo-Canadian community currently numbers approximately one million.

* In 2013, Canada issued more than 130,000 visitor visas to people coming from India to visit family, friends or as tourists.

* Between January and June 2014, 93 percent of visitor visas issued to Indian nationals were multiple-entry visas. This is a clear indication that Canada meets the needs of international travelers looking for fast, flexible and convenient options to come to our country.

“Canada and India are great partners, and the relationship is only getting stronger – to the benefit of both countries’ economic growth and future prosperity. I was especially pleased to highlight our new Express Entry system and Start-Up Visa program as key parts our government’s plan to build a fast, fair and flexible immigration system that attracts people with the skills to integrate fully and quickly in Canada’s economy and Canadian society,” said Alexander.

“This trip had immense value by promoting job creation and economic growth from coast to coast. This delegation did an excellent job to highlight Canada’s economic strengths,” said Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

“The strong economic and cultural ties between Canada and India have a profoundly positive effect on both countries. As a partner country, our entire Canadian delegation performed admirably during Vibrant Gujarat – we not only promoted the benefits of investing in Canada, but also explored opportunities for Canadian businesses from other delegations over the course of the conference,” said Devinder Shory, MP for Calgary Northeast.

“The benefits of a strong Indo-Canadian relationship never cease to amaze me. It’s an honour to help build upon such an important friendship between countries,” said Patrick Brown, MP for Barrie.