THE VOICE’s scoop posted online on March 17 at 3:35 p.m. that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was going to visit Vancouver was confirmed on Wednesday morning by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Harper announced that Modi will visit Canada from April 14 to 16, making stops in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.
He said Modi’s bilateral visit to Canada – his first since taking office – will provide an opportunity for the leaders to reaffirm the close relationship between Canada and India and to discuss ways to further broaden its scope. Increased cooperation in the fields of science and technology, innovation, education, security, counter-terrorism and energy are expected to feature prominently in discussions.
Harper noted: “Canada and India enjoy a close friendship based on shared values of democracy, pluralism and a mutual interest in expanding trade. India’s growing economy presents enormous opportunities for Canada and I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Modi to further strengthen bilateral relations and expand our trade and investment ties with a view to benefitting citizens of both countries.”
* Canada and India have long-standing and positive bilateral relations based on shared values of democracy, pluralism and a mutual interest in expanding trade.
* India is Canada’s largest trading partner in South Asia and continues to be a priority market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan.
* With bilateral merchandise trade totalling nearly $6.33 billion in 2014, a market of more than 1.2 billion people, and a predicted economic growth of 6.4 per cent in 2015, India represents exciting opportunities for Canadian businesses.
* Harper first met Modi on the margins of the G‑20 Summit in Australia in November 2014. Harper also visited India in November 2012 and November 2009.
* This is the first bilateral visit to Canada by an Indian Prime Minister since 1973.
AS reported last week by The VOICE, Modi will pay a visit to Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society’s Ross Street Gurdwara and then to Surrey’s Laxmi Narayan Mandir. Later he will attend a state dinner.
The schedule is still being worked on.
The Vancouver visit is being viewed as an election strategy to woo Indo-Canadians.
Last October Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced at a Diwali celebration in Brampton, Ontario, that Modi had accepted Harper’s invitation to visit Canada.
THE VOICE received phone calls last week from some people alleging that some people were collecting $5,000 each from those who wanted to shake hands with Modi during his temple visit in Surrey. There are also allegations that some people are asking for money to have names removed from the Indian government’s so-called black list. People should beware of such scams.
– RATTAN MALL