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India, Canada reaffirm commitment to political engagement.

Toronto, June 28 (ANI): The Prime Ministers of India and Canada on Sunday reaffirmed their commitment to sustained political engagement and a structured exchange of high-level visits and regular dialogue between officials.

Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that they looked forward to building on existing annual India-Canada Foreign Policy consultations, Startegic Dialogues, Trade Policy Consultations, the Joint Working Group on Terrorism, the Agricultural Working Group, the Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee, the Environment Forum and the Energy Forum.

A joint statement issued by the two sides after one-to-one and bilateral discussions, saw the two countries inking one agreement and three Memoranda of Understanding.

That apart, both leaders felt there was scope for cooperation in agriculture and in the agri-food business.

It was also felt that more steps needed to be taken to promote vibrant and longstanding people-to-people ties. They said expanding linkages in key areas such as education; academic relations, arts and culture, besides sports and tourism would be ideal.

While reviewing the state of bilateral relations, the two prime ministers welcomed the enhanced interaction in abroad range of areas, visits and other exchanges.

Later at a dinner hosted in his honour by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Dr. Singh said he was overwhelmed by the hospitality extended to him and his wife Gursharan Kaur during their visit to Toronto.

Dr. Singh said India and Canada shared much in common, though there were separated by distance.

Dr. Singh recalled the visit of his predecessor Indira Gandhi to Canada 37 years ago and quoted her as saying: "Canadians stand for a broad liberal outlook. They have fought for peace and racial justice."

Canada, he further said, has reinforced thses values and become a beacon of hope for those who believe in justice, equality and opportunity. It also is playing a key role in global affairs, protection of human rights, environment and the rule of law.

He also described India as a resilient economy wishing to aim higher, and added that the socio-economic transformation of the country would have enormous repercussions for the rest of the world.

Reiterating his and the Indian Government's commitment to development goals, Dr. Singh said he excitedly was looking forward to India and Canada working together for a better future. He said that Canada's ability to welcome and assimilate peoples from across the world was its key strength, and the fact that there 1.1.milllion Indian origin people living in Canada was a testament to it.

"We applaud the opportunities that they have been given to contribute to their soci-economic advancement.

Canadian citizens too needed to be praised for contribution to the country's welfare.

Both countries had the potential to jointly create a more just, fair and equitable world, a world where human dignity is upheld, the Indian Prime Minister concluded. By Ashok Dixit (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jun 28, 2010
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