Harinder Takhar, the first Indo-Canadian cabinet minister in Canada's biggest province of Ontario, has left for India to hold talks with Indian carmakers for collaboration in the automobile sector.
Ontario, where Takhar is minister for small business and entrepreneurship, is the leader in the automobile sector in North America.
However, the ongoing downturn in the US economy has hit this sector in Canada, with car manufacturers announcing cuts in jobs.
Speaking to IANS before leaving for India, Takhar said Canada was looking for alternative markets such as India. He said he would participate in the automobile exposition in New Delhi and meet executives of Maruti, Mahindra and Mahindra and Ashok Leyland to explore possibilities of collaboration.
Takhar, who immigrated to Canada from in Punjab in the early 1970s, said, "the auto exposition is a great opportunity to meet Indian automobile leaders to find how we can collaborate. The auto industry is booming in India, and Canada can forge useful collaborations with it."
He said he would also hold talks with the Tatas who are planning a car in the small segment. "The proposed small car will use the Canadian transmission system. We will discuss how we can expand our collaboration," he said.
Takhar said his visit was part the ongoing trade missions between India and Canada to boost bilateral trade. "The auto sector has been the focus for some time now. There was an automobile delegation from India in Canada six months. And my visit is a follow-up of that mission."
Since Haryana is the leader in car manufacturing in India, Takhar said he would meet state Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Chandigarh. "Haryana is to India what Ontario is to Canada. We are leaders in the automobile sector and we will discuss what we can do together."
The Indo-Canadian minister said he would also hold talks with the Indian IT giant Wipro who are keen on setting up a plant in Canada. "Their team was in Toronto some time ago. I want them to come here to set up the facility at the earliest."
Takhar said he would also deliver the keynote address at the Punjabi NRI annual gathering at Chandigarh. "Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has invited me, and we will discuss how Punjab and Ontario can do promote trade. Punjab needs to work on attracting foreign investors. You need vision."