Goal to increase Indo-Canada bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015: Canadian PM

Gurgaon (Haryana), Nov.7 (ANI): Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for greater momentum to fortify bilateral relations with India, and added that the common goal of both nations is to strengthen economic ties by expanding bilateral trade to 15 billion dollars by 2015.

Addressing world leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Millennium City Gurgaon on Wednesday, Harper stressed on the need for increased association between the two nations.

"I also believe we need to become closer partners, more quickly. With so much mutual interest, obvious synergy and cultural compatibility draws together. Greater momentum for a much closer, deeper partnership between Canada and India should be attainable. Prime Minister Singh (Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh) and I have agreed on a goal of expanding bilateral trade with $ 15 billion by 2015," said Harper.

He added that over 22 ministers from Canada have visited India to strengthen socio-political engagements.

"There have been no less than 22 visits from Canadian ministers since 2006. Our businesses are also increasingly engaged, Over 500 Canadian companies are here now, and 100- more of these have plans. The Canada-India CEO forum has also now been established and I would be permissed not to mention the remarkable partnership, the remarkable international partnership of Canada and India at the summit of the G 20 since its inception," said Harper.

Touching upon the education exchanges between the two nations, Harper said that almost 23,000 Indian students are either studying or conducting research in Canada.

"More than 23,000 Indian students study or conducted researches in Canada. That is a one third increase in just one year and two and a half times more in just the past three years. I personally place great importance on these people to people contacts. They are and they will be a living bridge between our two great countries, a bridge of the increasing span and growing importance. Infact I am delighted to pint out hat there are no less than 8 members to the government in Canada, including two ministers who trace the origin to India," said Harper.

He urged both nations to complete foreign investment agreements and forge a path of mutual growth.

"It will take concerted efforts by both of our countries to reap all of the benefits that this relationship can yield. I acknowledge, ladies and gentlemen that there has been progress, social security agreement between us is finally done. So, at last is the administrative arrangement to complete our nuclear and cooperation agreement. Our foreign investment negotiations have come much of the way, we have to get serious about getting them over the finish line," said Harper.

He also said that the establishment of a bilateral CEOs Forum, and the commitment to a structured dialogue at the Commerce Ministers level, would help to foster improved trade and economic interaction. (ANI)

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