INDIA VISIT: Spicy samosas set the mood for PM Harper as six-day, trade-focused mission kicks off

Published: November 4, 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shares a plate of samosas with reporters and colleges while on route to India from Ottawa on Saturday, November 3, 2012. While in Asia Harper will also visit the Philippines and Hong Kong. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JENNIFER DITCHBURN
THE CANADIAN PRESS

AGRA, India — Hours before Stephen Harper’s plane set down in India, he was already signalling his embrace of one of the world’s most formidable economies — with a bite of a samosa.

On the way to Agra, where he eventually arrived on Sunday evening, Harper tucked into a platter of the savoury Indian pastry with three of his Indo-Canadian MPs.

“I’m a spicy food eater,” Harper conceded to reporters and photographers who had been invited to his private cabin on the government plane.

“I like everything, I love Indian food, I don’t eat it that often, but I love Indian food.”

Harper’s unusually long six-day trip to India will be heavily focused on encouraging trade and investment, but will also touch on the personal ties between the two countries— namely, the one-million strong Indian diaspora in Canada.

Several reporters from Indo-Canadian media outlets have come along for Harper’s trip. Harper is set to visit Chandigarh in the Punjab region, from which so many Canadians hail.

The first stop on Monday will be at one of India’s most iconic locations — the Taj Majal.

The site is actually an elaborate marble tomb built by a 17th century emperor as a tribute to his beloved wife.

Later in the afternoon, Harper is scheduled to participate in a business forum in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

Trade between Canada and India sits at a modest $5.2 billion annually, but the two countries would like to see it rise to $15 billion by 2015.

“This is a great opportunity for the government to raise its profile in India,” said Stewart Beck, Canada’s high commissioner to India.

“I’d say our trading relationship and the economic relationship in general is really beginning to blossom…I just think our relevance to India is becoming more important, and that’s basically what we’ve been trying to achieve as officials in this market — how do we raise Canada’s importance to the Indians?”

But major agreements are not likely to be announced during Harper’s trip. A foreign investment and a trade deal are both still in negotiations, and the two nations have yet to agree on the strings attached to Canada selling India uranium under a 2-year-old nuclear deal.

Part of the problem, Beck said, is that India is coping with its own internal issues. The country faces a controversy over how it has handled the taxation of British-owned Vodafone, and a scandal over the handing out of coal mining permits. The government of Manmohan Singh is also in a minority situation, and has not been able to move forward as quickly with economic reforms.
Canada has also had his share of controversy in the area of foreign investment, with its recent temporary blocking of Malaysian company Petronas’ bid for gas producer Progress Energy Resources, and its drawn out review of Chinese company CNOOC’s takeover of energy firm Nexen Inc.

Beck says regardless of those recent issues, Indian firms continue to look upon Canada favourably for investment in the energy sector.

“Indian companies are looking for opportunities in the oilsands, we know of Indian companies that are in Canada pursuing opportunities on the east coast as well, and looking at different types of proposals,” said Beck. “Companies are there and active.”

On the nuclear front, Canada has insisted on administrative conditions that would allow it to track exactly where the uranium sold to India ends up. India has balked at that.

“They’ve gone through long and difficult negotiations with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to get where they are,” said Beck. “You’re in a negotiating situation, and again we want the best arrangement for us and the Indians want the best arrangement for them.”

Harper will also visit the technology and services hub of Bangalore during his visit, a buzzing city that symbolizes the kind of growth and entrepreneurship that Canada would like to tap into.

Beck said there are four main areas for potential trade growth: food security, educational services, oil and gas, and infrastructure support.

India’s economy is projected to grow by approximately 5.8 per cent in 2012-13, much lower than in previous years, but still healthy compared to that of some western nations.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Surrey vigil

Surrey mourns for victims of Pakistani Taliban terrorist attack with vigil (w/gallery)

ADRIAN MACNAIR SURREY NOW NORTH SURREY — Hundreds gathered in the drizzling rain at Holland Park Wednesday night to light candles and mourn the murder of…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Acting blind to beg on Indian streets earned him a mini role in Aamir Khan’s PK

HINDUSTAN TIMES Call it blind luck. Feigning blindness ensured Manoj Roy a few extra coins in his begging bowl. The act was good enough for…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Surrey vigil

Surrey mourns for victims of Pakistani Taliban terrorist attack with vigil (w/gallery)

ADRIAN MACNAIR SURREY NOW NORTH SURREY — Hundreds gathered in the drizzling rain at Holland Park Wednesday night to light candles and mourn the murder of…
Continue Reading »

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »

TK

Vancouver accountant pins hopes on civil action against newspaper publisher he says attacked him

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A Vancouver accountant is upset that a prominent South Asian newspaper publisher he accused of attacking him won’t go to trial….
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

MTV Roadies a way of life for youth

‘MTV Roadies’ now lifestyle for youth, says Rannvijay Singh

IANS Kolkata – Popular video jockey-turned-actor Rannvijay Singh Thursday spoke about the originality of reality TV show “MTV Roadies”, and said the series has become…
Continue Reading »

TALIBAN ATTACK

Pakistani Taliban school attack: ‘I’ll never forget the boots approaching me… I felt death was approaching me’

ASHFAQ YUSUFZAI, HARRIET ALEXANDER And RICHARD SPENCER THE DAILY TELEGRAPH PESHAWAR/LONDON — The attack was meticulously planned and, once the Taliban had decided that even…
Continue Reading »

Ageless skin-beauty-anti-ageing

Forever young? UBC researchers may have stumbled upon the secret to youthful skin

Mice without a certain enzyme didn’t appear to age RANDY SHORE POSTMEDIA NEWS Scientists at the University of B.C. searching for ways to slow the…
Continue Reading »

deportation-Canada

No hope for deported Pakistani woman to return to Saskatoon as Ottawa closes case

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — The lawyer for a woman deported to Pakistan says there is no hope left that she will be allowed to…
Continue Reading »

Ashiana Complex Delhi

‘I have to hide my face in public, the man who raped me roams free’

HINDUSTAN TIMES They say time flies. But for me it got stuck 10 years ago. I was a victim waiting for justice then and I…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Acting blind to beg on Indian streets earned him a mini role in Aamir Khan’s PK

HINDUSTAN TIMES Call it blind luck. Feigning blindness ensured Manoj Roy a few extra coins in his begging bowl. The act was good enough for…
Continue Reading »

Celebs lost in 2014-year in review

Gallery: Celebrities we lost in 2014

VANCOUVER DESI From actors Deven Verma, Zohra Sehgal to Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hollywood and Bollywood lost some legends this year. We take…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood-Hollywood

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra signs deal with ABC Television Studios

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who has already made inroads into foreign shores with her music, has signed a one-year TV development deal…
Continue Reading »