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Four Indian ministers to visit Canada next month

world Updated: Aug 16, 2010 14:54 IST
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Four Indian cabinet ministers will visit Canada next month to bolster ties between the two countries which signed nuclear, mining and other deals during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit in Toronto in June.

Making this announcement at India's Independence Day celebrations, Indian Consul General Preeti Saran said Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Food Processing Minister Subodh Kant Sahai will be in Toronto next month to boost business ties between India and Canada.

She said the visits were part of the efforts of the two countries to triple their bilateral trade from less than $5 billion now within the next five years, adding that the two countries have identified higher education, science and technology, innovation, clean technology and renewable energy as the thrust areas.

At the celebrations attended by Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Indo-Canadian minister Harinder Takhar, MPs and senators and consul generals of many countries, Saran said the world was witnessing a "historic phase'' in India's growth which has crept back to 8.5 percent-9 per cent despite the global slowdown.

The unfolding growth story of a nation of more than one billion people will have "enormous repercussions'' for not only India but also the whole world, she said.

She said the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here in June as part of the G-20 Summit has added "fresh vitality'' and "content'' to the bilateral relationship between India and Canada. The year-long festival of India in Canada in 2011, she said, will promote cultural ties between the two countries.

Flaherty said the growing importance of India for Canada can be gauged from the fact that the trade between the two countries has grown 70 percent since 2004. The trade ties will only deepen as India emerges one of the great economies of the world, he said.

Recalling his visit to the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai during his last trip to India, He said the Mahatma made a great contribution not only to India's peaceful freedom struggle but also to the whole world.

Harinder Takhar, Indian-origin cabinet minister in Ontario province, lauded the immense contribution of the million-strong Indo-Canadian community as a bridge between India and Canada.