Toronto: Canada and India must forge stronger
trade, investment and educational ties to build a more
productive friendship, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said.
"Canada stands besides India as a steadfast and faithful
friend," Harper said in a message to a function organised by
Panorama India to commemorate India`s 61st Republic Day
Outlining the many historical, cultural, social and
economic ties between the two countries, Harper said: "These
bonds are a solid foundation upon which we can build an even
stronger, more productive friendship."
The Prime Minister`s message that was read by lawmaker
Bob Dechert said the two countries must forge stronger ties in
the filed of trade, investment and education, pointing out
that Canada and India have a strong shared belief in the
values of liberty, pluralism and religious tolerance.
He said his country would not be the same without its
strong bond with India and outstanding contributions made by
the Indo-Canadian community in the economic development.
With two-way trade approaching USD 5 billion, Indo-Canada
relations have strengthened over the past few years, Preeti
Saran, India`s Consul General in Toronto, said and added that
both countries were committed to fight against terrorism.
"Both countries are united, as free and democratic
nations, in an effort to defeat those who pursue political
violence against innocent people," Saran said.
Saran said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was expected to
visit Toronto to attend the G-20 submit in June this year, the
dates however were yet to be finalised.
Several Members of Parliament including Gurbax Singh
Malhi, Ruby Dhalla and Bonnie Crombie; Harinder Takhar,
Ontario Minister for Small Scale Industries and Government
Services Vim Kochhar, newly appointed Indo-Canadian Senator to
Canada`s Upper House; Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff and
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Hazel McCallion, Mayer of
Mississauga also paid tributes on the occasion.
Calling India "a modern global success story", Vim
Kochhar, the first ever Indo-Canadian to become a Member of
Senate, said that "astonishing" pace of change, dynamism and
excitement India was generating was a tribute to all Indians.
As part of the event, Ferzana Bohra was crowned Panorama
India`s first `Indian Idol`.
Panorama India which organised the event strives to
showcase Indian culture and strengthen ties between the
various cultural organisations of India in Canada as well as
strengthens ties between the two countries.