New Delhi, Apr. 8: Taking forward the bilateral relations on to the next stage, Punjab-born Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will be travelling to New Delhi and Punjab later this month.
Sajjan is scheduled to arrive on April 17 for an interaction with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley as both countries look to increase engagement in the sector.
India and Canada at present have agreed to explore cooperation in cold climate warfare, peacekeeping, participation in Defence Staff College training, naval linkages and staff exchanges, as also in Defence Research and Development, specially security science and technology.
“This visit is about what can we do more... how can we expand... it is an exploratory visit to provide stimulus for defence sector cooperation,” Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel told the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents here.
On the concerns over radical groups, especially from Punjab remaining active in Canada, he said while the issue does come up during official interactions, a vast majority of Sikhs are making meaningful contribution to the Canadian society and were peace-loving. However, when any laws are broken, the authorities will act immediately and security agencies in Canada take these [violations] seriously, he said.
India and Canada have two separate dialogues, a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and a meeting between Deputy National Security Advisors. Among the 12 lakh Canadian-Indians, some five lakh are emigrants from Punjab while the Gujaratis at three lakh are the second largest.
The High Commissioner said investment in India is now hovering around Canadian $14-15 billion, in pension funds and large-scale infrastructure operations. There are some 1,000 Canadian companies doing business with India.
Some 40 per cent of the pulses India consumes are imported from Canada with the two-way trade recording $8 billion. “Most Indians may not be aware that the potato finger chips they have are produced by Canadian company McCain while Bombardier supplies coaches for Metro.”
Patel said there has been a 70 per cent rise in the number of students who preferred to pursue quality education at a lesser cost in Canada, while tourism grew at 16 per cent.(TT)
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