India to have year-long festival in Canada (With Images)

June 7th, 2009 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, June 7 (IANS) India is all set to hold a year-long ‘Festival of India in Canada’ in 2011, showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage, said Indian High Commissioner to Canada S.M. Gavai.

“It could be called the Festival of India or the Year of India. There will be across-the-board activities - performances by Indian artists, exhibitions and seminars on India,” Gavai said to thunderous applause at the annual gala dinner of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) here Saturday night.

The envoy also announced $5 million to Canada’s HealthyKids International for its three-year programme to help India meet the shortage of paediatric specialists. He presented the first of the three cheques for $1.5 million to HealthKids International.

Under this programme, Indian doctors will be trained at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital for one year.

“Five Indian specialists will spend one year at the Sick Kids Hospital and then go back to India,” Gavai said.

Speaking as chief guest, Canada’s Minister for International Trade and the Asia-Pacific Gateway Stockwell Day said the two-way trade between India and Canada rose by 22 percent last year despite the economic downturn.

He also announced $6.7 million for four initiatives to increase cooperation with India in the field of health sciences, including cancer and AIDS.

Under this initiative, Canadian universities and medical institutes will collaborate with their Indian counterparts in various fields.

The minister presented awards to 10 Indian Canadians including ICICI Canada founding president and CEO Hari Panday for excellence in their fields.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who was also present at the event, said he was looking forward to his visit to India in December.

McGunity, who led a trade mission to India in 2007, said this time he will lead a green mission to Mumbai and New Delhi. Quoting Rabindranath Tagore, the premier of Canada’s biggest and most powerful province said: “India is aware.”

Indians are working with a clear purpose “to build a better India for India and for the world”, he said.

The premier said India recently announced a plan to fight climate change, and his mission will promote business opportunities for Canadian companies, which are world leaders in green technology.

McGuinty said the two-way trade between India and Canada has grown, but “we need to do a lot better”.

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