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Justin Trudeau With the focus on bolstering economic and cultural ties between the two countries, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be on a state visit to India from February 17-23.

“The visit is aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest including trade and investment, energy, science and innovation, higher education, infrastructure development, skill development and space,” the ministry of external affairs said in a statement announcing the visit.

According to the Canadian High Commission statement, Trudeau’s stops in Agra, Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi will provide him an opportunity “to connect with Indian leaders in government and business, promote the empowerment of women and girls, and strengthen Canada and India’s close economic ties”.

Canada is also a leading education destination for Indian students; in 2017, approximately 1,24,000 Indian students were given study permits in Canadian universities. Canada is home to a large Indian diaspora and there are a number of Indian-origin Canadians holding key offices. Currently, the Trudeau cabinet has five people of Indian origin, including Harjit Sajjan, the first Sikh to be appointed the nation’s defence minister.

In an earlier interaction with FE, Canadian high commissioner to India Nadir Patel had said: “We are interested in expanding our defence cooperation with India. Besides the training exercises between our armed forces, the Canadian defence companies are looking at ways of cooperating in defence manufacturing here.”

“There are a lot of possibilities of the Canadian defence companies getting into joint venture for producing different platforms for the Indian Armed forces and to be exported to friendly countries,” the envoy added.
Late last year, the trade ministers and delegates of both countries had met in New Delhi to address the issues related to free trade agreement between the two: India is looking to create more jobs for software professionals in Canada and easier visas under India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA); Canada wants to expand its exports to India — particularly pulses and food items.
The 10th round of the CEPA talks was held in August 2017.

According to sources, the Canadian side had assured India that they would look into the issues concerned, including movement of natural persons and what kind of provisions could be built into the CEPA.

In 2016, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and India totalled $8 billion. Bilateral trade in services reached $2.1 billion the same year, according to Canadian government figures. Canadian investment into India has increased by over $15 billion over the past three years, mainly through institutional investors, and the number of Canadian companies active in India stands at over 1,000, the Canadian high commission statement said.

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