Year of India in Canada launched

Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 20:37 PM IST

Ottawa: India has launched year-long activities and programmes for its `Year of India in Canada` to showcase the country`s rich art and culture, as well as its rise as an economic power.

Indian High Commissioner S M Gavai launched the programme with a major investment in Canada-India Centre for Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy at the Carleton University.

Gavai and Roseann O`Reilly Runte, Carleton University President, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday governing the Visiting Chair in the field of humanities and social sciences that would bring together key members of the academic, business and public policy communities in both countries to provide cutting-edge research, analysis, training and exchanges.

Gavai said that the yearlong festivities would include exhibitions of Indian art and culture, seminars on promoting trade and business, conferences on enhanced co-operation, food and film festivals and more in different parts of the country.

The celebratory year was designated for 2011 by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper during the latter`s visit to India in November 2009.

"The aim is to showcase India`s rich art and culture, as well as its rise as an economic power, thereby promoting closer people-to-people ties across a broad range of sectors, including business," Gavai said.

"A number of positive developments point to an upward trajectory in this bilateral relationship. A sustained engagement of Canada with India is evident from the number of agreements and MOUs already signed between two countries such as Civilian nuclear cooperation agreement; higher education; earth sciences and mining and cultural cooperation," Gavai said while talking to newsmen after the function.

"Social Security Agreement, the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, and MoU on Transportation are under negotiation and are expected to be concluded soon," he said.

Gavai said that both the governments were committed in the formation of a broader human connection strategy linking segments of civil society and corporate sector in India and Canada with knowledgeable members of India Diaspora so as to formulate an action plan for next twenty year.

"We are most grateful to the Indian government," Runte said.

"This generous contribution will make Carleton’s centre a unique resource for the university, the community and our country," she added.

In UK, a reception was organised to celebrate Republic Day at the famous Grosvenor House, the latest Indian acquisition.

More than 500 dignitaries including members of the House of Lords, the House of Commons and NRI mayor and several Councillors attended the reception.

Addressing the gathering, High Commissioner Nalini Surie said the year 2010 marked a new phase in the India-UK relations, with British Prime Minister David Cameron laying greater emphasis on the special relations.

The High Commissioner said "India`s economic growth is an opportunity for the UK to further increase the bilateral trade and cooperation."

Eric Pickles, MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said "India is an enormously important partner of the UK, not because of the prominent role people of Indian-origin play in the UK, but because of the common interest the two countries have in various fields including science and technology.

"Britain looks forward to closer relations with India and we can learn a lot of things including biotechnology from India."

"With India hosting the Cricket World Cup, the year 2011 is going to be even a greater year for India," he said.

David Miliband, former British Foreign Secretary, spoke highly of the contribution India is making in the economic field globally, India`s contribution to the UN peacekeeping force and the remarkable contribution people of Indian-origin make all over the world.

This is the first time, the Indian High Commission has organised the Republic Day reception at the Grosvenor House.

Last year it was held at the Indian Gymkhana and prior to that it was generally held at the 9, Kensington Palace, on the lawn of the High Commissioner`s residence.

The Indian Consulate in Chicago also celebrated 62nd Republic Day.

Consul General Mukta Dutta Tomar unfurled the Indian flag inside the consulate and read a speech given by the President of India Pratibha Patil.