Ottawa: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper have called for the elevation of two-way trade between their respective nations, recognising that the early finalisation of the Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is an important step in realising the same.
In the joint statement released by the two leaders, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper reaffirmed the need to elevate two-way trade and investment linkages to their full potential. They agreed to pursue specific measures to diversify and deepen bilateral trade and investment cooperation to increase the two way flow of goods and services.
The two leaders also recognised that early finalisation of the Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is an important step in realising the shared objective of enhanced trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. They welcomed the progress made in the recent bilateral discussions between treaty negotiators and agreed to intensify discussions to finalise the outstanding issues.
The joint statement further said that Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper have recognised that bilateral business and commercial linkages constitute key drivers of the wide ranging India-Canada partnership. In this regard, Prime Minister Harper commended Prime Minister Modi for his forward-looking vision of energising the Indian economy and welcomed the policy measures and specific initiatives taken to improve the ease of doing business in India. They also appreciated the role played by the bilateral business community in both countries in promoting commercial partnerships between India and Canada.
The two leaders further noted that specific initiatives launched by Prime Minister Modi such as `Make in India`, `Affordable Housing for all by 2022` and `Smart Cities` offered significant collaborative commercial opportunities for Indian and Canadian businesses and industry. They also noted that Canada`s prioritisation of India in its Global Markets Action Plan aligned well with bilateral objectives.
Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper also welcomed the agreement on a road map to expeditiously conclude a progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement as a basis for significantly expanding two-way trade and investment and directed the negotiators to prioritise its finalisation.
Noting the important role of movement of professionals in boosting bilateral trade, investment and people-to-people ties, the two leaders agreed that both sides will hold a dialogue in this field to facilitate greater bilateral cooperation.
The two leaders also recognised Canadian commercial engagement and expressed support for bilateral partnerships for urban transformation and smart city development which would leverage Canadian expertise in a number of relevant fields including, public private partnerships, intelligent transportation systems, civil engineering and urban planning, water and wastewater management, pre-cast and wood construction, energy technology and efficiency and affordable housing.
Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper further welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Rail Transportation between India`s Ministry of Railways and Transport Canada, dealing with technical cooperation. The leaders also welcomed the finalisation of an MoU on Civil Aviation between Transport Canada and India`s Ministry of Civil Aviation, which will establish a Joint Working Group to bring together key industry and Government stakeholders to advance opportunities for cooperation in civil aviation.
The two leaders also took positive note of the useful discussions in the Economic and Financial Sector Policy Dialogue held on February 13 in New Delhi and agreed to establish a Finance Ministers Dialogue for the purpose of deepening the India-Canada economic and financial relationship.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister met Canadian Governor General David Johnston, before holding a tete-a-tete with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.
He also attended a ceremonial reception before being accorded a guard of honour.
Addressing the press, Prime Minister Modi later said that the agreement between the two countries on the procurement of uranium from Canada for India`s civilian nuclear power plants launches a new era of bilateral cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi`s trip to Canada is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 42 years.
Prime Minister Modi arrived here after concluding a successful visit to France and Germany.