New Delhi: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit India next month on a trip that is expected to see a strengthening of ties in areas including trade, investment, energy, innovation, higher education and infrastructure, a statement from India’s ministry of external affairs said on Monday.
This is Trudeau’s first visit to India since his election as Prime Minister in October 2015. He will arrive in India on 17 February on a weeklong visit that will see him makes stops in Agra, Amritsar, Ahmedabad and Mumbai besides New Delhi, according to a statement from the Canadian high commission in New Delhi.
The last visit to India by a Canadian Prime Minister was in 2012. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Canada in April 2015 for talks with his then counterpart Stephen Harper. The highlight of that visit was an agreement on Canada selling uranium to India to power its civil nuclear plants for the production of electricity.
“The (Trudeau) visit is aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest including trade and investment, energy, science and innovation, higher education, infrastructure development, skill development and space," the Indian foreign ministry statement said.
“Cooperation in security and counter-terrorism as well as exchange of views on global and regional issues of mutual interest will also form important components of the visit," it said.
“India and Canada share a strategic partnership underpinned by the values of democracy, pluralism, equality for all and rule of law. Strong people-to-people contacts and the presence of a large Indian diaspora in Canada provide a strong foundation for the relationship," it added.
According to the Canadian high commission statement, Trudeau’s stops in Agra, Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi will provide him an opportunity “to connect with Indian leaders in government and business, promote the empowerment of women and girls, and strengthen Canada and India’s close economic ties."
“Canada and India enjoy a flourishing relationship, one that Canada is committed to further strengthening. Our two countries share much in common, including a commitment to diversity, democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. This visit will build on these shared commitments as well as on recent meetings held between Prime Ministers Trudeau and Modi, and ministers from both countries," it said.
Canadian high commissioner to India Nadir Patel said that “Canada greatly values its strong relationship with India."
“This visit reflects the high level of priority that Prime Minister Trudeau places on this strategic partnership. Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit builds on visits by 11 cabinet ministers of the Trudeau government in the past 18 months," he said.
During the visit, the two prime ministers “will reaffirm the close friendship between the two countries, and discuss ways to further deepen bilateral cooperation," the Canadian statement said.
Trudeau will meet youth groups as well as visit varied places of religious worship like the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Jama Masjid in New Delhi and Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Ahmedabad.
Canada is home to a large Indian diaspora, as approximately 3.6% of Canadians are of Indian heritage and India is Canada’s second largest source of immigrants.
In 2016, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and India totalled $8 billion. Bilateral trade in services reached $2.1 billion in the same year, according to Canadian government figures. Canadian investment into India has increased by over $15 billion over the past three years mainly through institutional investors, and the number of Canadian companies active in India stands at over 1,000, the Canadian high commission statement said.
Canada is also a leading education destination for Indian students with some 124,000 Indians holding valid Canadian study permits in 2017.