B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who is leading a delegation to India, has hailed new Prime Minister Narendra Modi for changing the South Asian behemoth’s mindset.
“He (Modi) has un-caged the tiger (India), which is ready to take on the world”, said Clark, while in Chandigarh, Punjab this week.
Empowering the state
According to Indian media reports, she lauded Modi for giving preference to state governments and trying to give them more power so that they could interact with governments abroad and set-up their trade offices there to bring investment into India.
“Modi is rolling out the red carpet and trying to end red tape and cut down the regulations, which have been there in India for long. He has un-caged the tiger (India), which is ready to take on the world. This will impact the Indian as well as our economy. We hope it will bring the much required change, as this will bring more business and jobs which are currently limited,” she said.
Pointing out that earlier the governments in India had held on the leash, Clark said now it was being unleashed by the Modi-led Government.
“The next few decades belong to India as more investments will flow into the country and its economy will grow. We want sustainable partnership with India,” she said.
Clark has met officials of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which is one of the investors in the Petroliam Nasional (Petronas Project) in Canada. The IOC has invested $4 billion in the $36 billion liquefied natural gas project there. It is the second largest project in British Columbia and will meet its deadline by early 2015.
“In the coming few years, natural gas will be supplied to India as it will be shipped out. It is the biggest Indian investment and once the project meets the deadline, we expect more investments from India,” she said.
British Columbia and Punjab also announced collaboration in various fields including skill development, dairy and food processing besides educational and cultural exchange following a meeting between the delegation and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
“Modi is rolling out the red carpet and trying to end red tape and cut down the regulations, which have been there in India for so long…”
Clark assured Badal that the decisions taken in the meeting would be implemented in the right earnest as “Punjabis shared cordial ties with Canada” besides “contributing enormously” in its overall development and prosperity.
Bringing International Students to B.C.
The step aims to further boost the bilateral, socio- economic ties between the both states in fields like food technology, processing and cold chain, dairying and milk processing, besides cultural exchange, it said.
The premier asked Minister of Advanced Education BC, Amrik Virk, who accompanied her in the meeting to tie up with Punjab Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema to work out the modalities for teacher and student exchange program during the summer vacations.
Responding positively to the proposals put forth by Badal to collaborate in the area of food technology, processing and cold chain, dairying and milk processing, the BC Premier apprised him that BC had a trade center at Chandigarh where the Punjab Government could submit these proposals for active consideration and follow up.
The BC delegation also met Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal.
Clark also announced funding for 20 scholarships, worth a total of $50,000, to support and encourage the two-way exchange of students between the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and Sanatan Dharma (SD) College in Chandigarh, India.
“The Government of British Columbia recognizes the social, cultural and economic benefits of student exchanges between India and British Columbia,” said Clark.
“This trade mission provides us with opportunities to meet face-to-face with key representatives from many sectors, including education. That helps us build and strengthen our relationships.”
“He (Modi) has un-caged the tiger (India), which is ready to take on the world”
The nine-day international trade mission to India is focused on promoting key B.C. sectors, including liquefied natural gas and other natural resources, clean technology, life sciences, film, digital arts, education and finance. The trade mission will also showcase B.C. as India’s fastest and most-efficient gateway to North American markets.
“We are committed to increasing the number of international students studying in British Columbia and the number of B.C. students studying abroad,” said Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk. “We hope the scholarships will encourage more students from India to choose B.C. as their study destination so they can experience our high-quality education system first hand.”
SD College is located in Chandigarh, which is in the state of Punjab in the northwest of India. The college hosts UFV at its Chandigarh campus, and the two institutions have established a partnership based on mutual respect, common values and similar education goals.
“We are delighted that the Ministry of Advanced Education shares our view that student exchanges are extremely valuable,” said UFV president and vice chancellor Mark Evered. “These scholarships will allow students from B.C. and India to learn more about each other’s culture and forge lifelong bonds that will benefit both jurisdictions from both an economic and social standpoint. They will also enable our university to create even closer ties to SD College, with whom we have established several partnerships and connections.”
“The next few decades belong to India as more investments will flow into the country and its economy will grow. We want (a) sustainable partnership with India,”
Up to 10 scholarships will be awarded each year, beginning in 2015, until all 20 have been disbursed. The scholarships may be awarded for study in any discipline offered by UFV or SD College and can be applied against the cost of tuition, travel, accommodation or other costs. Students must have completed at least one year of study at either institution to be eligible.
“We at SDCC feel honoured to receive such an initiative from the Government of British Columbia,” said president of Sanatan Dharma College Upkar Krishan Sharma. “This gesture speaks volumes about the commitment of UFV to our institution and students alike by enabling financial support to those aspiring students who want to attain world class higher education.“
India is identified as a key export market in the BC Jobs Plan, and is already emerging as an important trade and investment partner for B.C. For example, in 2013, B.C. goods exported to India jumped by 46% to $469 million compared to the same period in 2012. The BC provincial government is committed to a 50% increase in the number of international students studying in B.C. by 2016.
Meanwhile, another Canadian delegation, which is on a six-day visit to India, is going to discuss global and regional security, economic prosperity and other bilateral matters with top Indian Government officials and leaders during their stay between October 12 to October 17.
“Issues surrounding global security, terrorism and economic prosperity will be the focus of our discussions with the Modi Government as we look to this next chapter with a wealth of optimism,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said. The delegation comprises of Minister John Baird, Canada’s International trade Minister Ed Fast, National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay and Indo Canadian MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai along with other officials.
Minister Baird further said, “Canada and India share a special bond and have clearly laid out the importance of our relationship through the Canada-India Strategic Dialogue. The recent transition in India marks an important chapter in our relationship, one that Canada looks forward to deepening and broadening.”
Baird and Fast will also meet with Indian ministers and business leaders to bring new energy and ambition to the partnership between Canada and India. Minister Fast will then lead a six-day, three-city trade mission to Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh to boost Canada and India’s trade and investment partnerships. They will be joined by representatives of 14 Canadian organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises, looking for opportunities to export to India.
Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai will lead a delegation comprising representatives of six Canadian organizations to Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai to strengthen the Canada-India bilateral relationship in areas such as regional security, education and trade.