Toronto: With Prime Minister Stephen Harper
set to embark on a three-day India tour, Canada hopes his
visit will mark "a new era of partnership" between the two
countries, which are expected to finalise a civil nuclear deal
and ink a major economic treaty.
The purpose of the visit, beginning Monday, was to
develop a comprehensive and holistic relationship with India
which, with its 1.2 billion people, is the world`s largest
democracy and an emerging power, official sources said.
The nuclear agenda will be one of the most closely-
watched issues on this trip, as the civilian nuclear agreement
has existed in draft form for several months now.
The accord would mirror similar deals India reached with
the US and France, sources said, adding Harper`s visit will
mark "a new era of partnership" with New Delhi.
Harper, who will be discussing bilateral issues with
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is also expected to sign a
Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement to
safeguard investors` rights in the two countries.
Singh and Harper are likely to use the trip to talk
about a Canada-India Free Trade Agreement or smaller steps to
lower trade barriers between the two countries.
Noting that "there is a tremendous amount of potential"
in Canada`s ties with India, Harper said in a recent statement
that "we share a history of cooperation in the Commonwealth
and the United Nations, as well as a shared commitment to
pluralism, democracy, human rights and the rule of law."