CANADA-INDIA: Herb Dhaliwal’s letter to Indian PM claims opportunity awaits in closer ties

Former MP Herb Dhaliwal was once minister in charge of nuclear energy. Les Bazso/PNG

HERB DHALIWAL
SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA NEWS

My Dear Friend, Prime Minister:

I am delighted to know of your talks this week with Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, as you host him in Delhi for an official visit designed to both signify and reinforce greater ties between India and Canada. Your signing joint agreements pivoted on energy would be very timely.

I am, of course, reminded of the welcome, official as well as personal, connection that you and I forged over the years which presaged the current developments. It started while you were finance minister when I recall the steady, but admittedly slow, steps we attempted while I was in the Canadian Cabinet — flowing especially from the 1996 Team Canada mission headed by our then prime minister Jean Chretien. As is true in present circumstances, it sought to advance the India-Canada connection at an unprecedented level, and thereby to facilitate greater economic gains mutually, mostly through trade.

There is much to reap, from what I understand, this bilateral meeting looks to be marking — including a genuinely historic turning point in India’s often-contentious relationship with Canada regarding nuclear matters especially (which commenced in 1963 when India purchased its first CANDU reactor). This current development, heralding what is a huge opportunity for both sides, is overdue.

As a former minister responsible for nuclear energy, I foresee that your overcoming the sticking point over nuclear safety measures will provide increased inventory for nuclear power to boost the fulfilment of India’s insatiable energy demands. Having a nuclear safety agreement between Canada and India is a no-brainer. Both countries, and the global nuclear community overall, can benefit considerably from the extensive shared knowledge and experience both India and Canada have in CANDU technology.

A broader nuclear agreement is sure to kickstart a flourishing, unparalleled link with Canada’s abundance in uranium and world-leading nuclear technology capability. Centred upon deliveries of a uranium supply that I know many Canadian specialist corporations are poised to provide India, your improving the conditions for trade with these providers according to verifiably peaceful purposes can make a valuable difference to the fuelling of India’s underutilized existing nuclear power facilities.

Consider me to be among the many Canadians, of Indian origin and otherwise, who have high hopes that this economic summit between you and your Canadian counterpart will be more than a photo-op.

Canada can be counted upon as a reliable energy source, not only for nuclear fuel to meet your growing needs.

Potentially, the importation of oil in addition to natural gas bountifully available from Western Canada can be a part of the solution, as India advisedly seeks to pin down substantial, and secure, other energy supplies. This is the only way you can overcome the looming energy deficiencies which threaten your country’s future prosperity, at the risk of fomenting social unrest among your populace.

India also can, and should, look to Canada for our globally-recognized excellence in natural gas exploration, development and infrastructure. Furthermore, another related area of contemporary energy advancement in which Canada is on the leading edge, “shale gas,” could contribute toward India’s reducing your energy shortage.

Sir, in all honesty, to date the biggest impediment to the kind of success that Canada-India business cooperation is capable of achieving has been the heavy hand of bureaucracy and, in particular, the lack of transparency. Until and unless your government takes concrete, lasting action to overhaul India’s Byzantine bureaucratic culture, and thus to reverse its characteristic inertia, very little will change. The ardour of Canadians to invest and to partner will recede, and the results of many worthwhile initiatives for which expectations are now high will be depleted. I have heard many well-intentioned Canadian entrepreneurs/investors express frustration at dealing with officialdom in India. They abandon their plans when stultified by an operating environment which openly sustains bribery as a cost of transacting commerce.

So many of the efforts in which I participated with you did fall short of the targets which we aimed to reach by this juncture. Regrettably, most of those barriers indigenous to India still remain today. They therefore need to be seriously and comprehensively addressed in the short term. Thereby, the strides you and Prime Minister Harper are attempting to take now will have a better chance of gaining lasting traction, for the exploitation of what undoubtedly are tremendous existing possibilities — particularly in the energy sector.

With sincere regards,

Herb Dhaliwal

Herb Dhaliwal was the Member of Parliament for Vancouver South-Burnaby from 1993-2004. He was the first India-born South Asian, and first Sikh, ever appointed to a cabinet portfolio.





Featured

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected…
Continue Reading »

Bharbhoor Singh

Surrey cadet Corps is pride of B.C.’s Sikh community

VANCOUVER DESI Like most teenagers his age, Sagar Singh Ghag loves his video games. Homework, chores and outdoor activities were all impediments to attaining supremacy…
Continue Reading »

Gian Singh Gill

Surrey Khalsa Day parade organizer is fuelled by faith

VANCOUVER DESI Gian Singh Gill is a man fuelled by his faith. Known for his gentle demeanour, the towering Gill is the President of Dasmesh…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected…
Continue Reading »

Bharbhoor Singh

Surrey cadet Corps is pride of B.C.’s Sikh community

VANCOUVER DESI Like most teenagers his age, Sagar Singh Ghag loves his video games. Homework, chores and outdoor activities were all impediments to attaining supremacy…
Continue Reading »

Gian Singh Gill

Surrey Khalsa Day parade organizer is fuelled by faith

VANCOUVER DESI Gian Singh Gill is a man fuelled by his faith. Known for his gentle demeanour, the towering Gill is the President of Dasmesh…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Surrey Vaisakhi Parade

The sheer awe of Amritsar

VANCOUVER DESI Amritsar, literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the splendid Golden Temple. Guru Ramdas,…
Continue Reading »

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Vaisakhi recipes and the concept of free kitchens

VANCOUVER DESI Food, especially feeding others for free, is a central philosophy of Sikhism. Sikhs do not have many strict rules regarding food but many…
Continue Reading »

Muslim Surveillance Program

New York police ends Muslim surveillance program that sparked outrage

TOM HAYS And JAKE PEARSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to…
Continue Reading »

Selfies - inked finger-Twitter

Indian city bans selfies inside polling booths (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI The next selfie you snap could land you in jail – for Indian voters at least. According to Indian news publication the Bangalore…
Continue Reading »

worship-India

Six-year-old worshipped for patch of hair on his back that has grown into a tail

VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old Indian boy is being worshipped by villagers for a small patch of hair on his back that has grown into a…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Shah Rukh Khan would love to dance on ‘Gangnam Style’ with Psy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan wants to dance with Korean rap sensation Psy on his global hit Gangnam Style, according to the Press…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Hrithik Roshan seeks health tips for ‘shin splints’ from Twitter fans

IANS Mumbai – Actor Hrithik Roshan, who underwent brain surgery last year, is again suffering from “shin splints”. The 40-year-old complained of pain in the…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Rajeev Khandelwal: Being in industry an endless marathon

IANS Mumbai – Actor Rajeev Khandelwal says that being in the film industry is like an endless marathon and the one who survives till the…
Continue Reading »