Toronto: Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will visit India next month to strengthen bilateral economic ties between the two countries.
During the visit, Baird will review the current status of bilateral negotiations underway, such as the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) and the implementation of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.
"We look forward to welcoming Minister John Baird to India in September," Preeti Saran, Consul General of India said here yesterday while addressing a reception organised by the Indian Consulate to commemorate the 66th Independence day.
Several ministers and members of parliament from Ontario government including Harinder Takhar, Kathleen Wynn and Eric Hoskins, senator Asha Seth, Honorary Lt Col and noted financial service specialist, Hari Pandey and other dignitaries were among those who were present on the occasion.
Saran said that the preparations were also underway for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper`s visit to India.
"India has identified education, innovation, renewable energy, clean technologies, energy efficiency, mining, infrastructure, and agriculture as priority areas of cooperation," Saran said.
"Canada has great strengths in these areas, we can work together to mutual benefit," she added.
Commending contributions made by Indo-Canadians, Saran said: "One of the greatest strengths of Canada is its ability to welcome and assimilate people from across the world. This includes more than one million people of Indian origin who are the greatest asset in our bilateral relations."
Speaking on the occasion, Bal Ghosal, Canadian Minister said; "Canada and India have longstanding and positive bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and strong interpersonal connections with an Indian diaspora of more than one million in Canada."
Ghosal said that two-way merchandise trade reached nearly USD 5.2 billion in 2011, an increase of 23.4 percent from 2010.
The Minister extended his heartfelt greetings to people of India and read a message of the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
A cultural program was also organised to mark the occasion.
Several Indo-Canadian organisations who participated in the India parade were also presented certificates for their outstanding performance.
Earlier in the day, a brief ceremony held at the Indian Consulate in Toronto, Saran unfurled the Indian national tricolour amidst the singing of the Indian national anthem.
Saran read the message of the President Pranab Mukherjee to nation in English and excerpts in Hindi.