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

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

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 »