Three Canadian cabinet ministers to visit India to sign agreements

January 8th, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Jan 8 (IANS) Three Canadian cabinet ministers will visit India over the next two weeks to sign agreements to deepen business, commerce and cultural ties between the two countries.During his visit beginning Jan 17, Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day will open Canada’s new trade office in Hyderabad, diplomatic sources told IANS.

Day will also meet Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and representatives of industry and businesses. He will attend a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) partnership summit.

Canadian Minister for Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, who begins his Indian visit from Jan 11, will meet several Indian ministers, community and business leaders. He will also visit Canada’s New Delhi and Chandigarh visa offices.

“Our government has taken unprecedented steps to strengthen the Canada-India relationship,” Kenney said in a statement before his visit to India.

“Canada benefits enormously from our friendship with the world’s largest democracy. Canada’s historic ties with India, especially through the Commonwealth, reflect our shared values,” he said.

“The Indo-Canadian community has raised a number of important issues with me, including the need to take action against fraudulent immigration consultants, improve visa processing times, encourage immigration from Indian students to Canada, and build stronger connections between Indian and Canadian businesses,” the immigration minister said.

“I intend to work on fulfilling our government’s promise to modernize the immigration system to make it more efficient and responsive to labour market needs, as well as fairer for applicants.”

Kenney will also visit Mumbai to express Canada’s condolences for the terrorist attacks in November 2008, and pay respects at sites of importance to the Jewish and Ismaili communities.

“We will land in Delhi on the 11th and leave for Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple. Minister Kenney will also meet political and community leaders in Punjab,” newly elected Sikh MP Tim Uppal, who is accompanying the immigration minister to India, told IANS.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who is also scheduled to be in India next week, will sign a memorandum of understanding with Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

He will also meet the Indian Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay and visit the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) and other places during his stay in India.

Apart from these high-profile visits, oil-rich Alberta province’s Deputy Premier Ron Stevens will also be in New Delhi to attend Petro Tech - south Asia’s largest oil and gas show - which runs from Jan 11 to 15.

Canadian parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai is in India to attend Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, as are former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh, Ontario small business minister Harinder Takhar and MP Ruby Dhalla.

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