Indo-Canadians demand visa office in Mumbai

September 14th, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 14 (IANS) Emboldened by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise to open a trade office in Gujarat, Indo-Canadians have now requested him to open a visa office in Mumbai.In a letter to the prime minister, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce member Hemant Shah has sought a visa office in Mumbai to boost business ties between the two countries.

Hailing the prime minister’s announcement to open a trade office in Gujarat, Shah said: “Though Canada has a significant trade presence in India, there is one more important thing still missing - a visa office in Mumbai, the financial capital of the country.”

He said Canada should not be left behind many countries, including the US and Britain, that already have visa offices in Mumbai.

“When you can open an office in the Punjab, I can understand the political reasons, but still lacking one in Mumbai is a significant slight,” Shah said in his letter.

“When we have shown strong commitment opening trade offices, why not a visa office in Bombay (Mumbai)? Why do business leaders, who wish to travel to our country, need to go through Delhi?”

Shah added: “When I travel on a business mission to India, I am repeatedly asked: Why not a visa office in Mumbai?”

He said until a visa office is opened in Mumbai, the private sector in India will not take Canada seriously.

Asha Luthra, president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, joined Shah in urging the prime minister to fill this void in the burgeoning trade relationship between the two countries.

“So many business people from Mumbai come to Canada. So it is important if Canada has a visa office in Mumbai,” Luthra told IANS.

“Business people are being deterred from coming to Canada as they don’t want to waste time going to Delhi to get visas. A visa office in Mumbai is any day better than in Chandigarh in terms of revenue it will generate for Canada,” she said.

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