Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan advocated increasing investment in universities and research institutes to create a robust ecosystem for innovation.
He said his government is working with the industry and other partners to promote research in new transportation technologies and looking for opportunities in India.
“As much as we talk about investment in innovation and technologies, we have to invest in universities, research and our thinkings to ensure we have the right ecosystem in place for the right people at the right time for innovation.”
Sajjan, who is accompanying Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his India visit, was speaking at a function here.
Canada’s clean and renewable energy sector is ready to help India in meeting its target for renewable power generation, Sajjan said.
“The government of Canada is working with the industry and other partners to promote research in new transportation technologies. These include unmanned aircraft systems, zero emission and automated vehicles.
“Our team is ready for opportunities in India and looks forward to networking and developing further partnerships,” he said.
Sajjan said his government has made it easier for foreign investors to set up ventures in the North American country.
“To make it easier for foreign investors, a new agency in Canada will be a one-stop shop for all the information needed on Canadian investment landscape,” he said.
“The Canadian government has just agreed to sign a trade agreement with the countries in the Pacific region through the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership.
“As you know, we are working extremely hard with our American and Mexican friends to modernise the North American Free Trade Agreement,” the defence minister said.
Canada now has preferential markets to 45 countries.
They represent more than 1.2 billion consumers and a combined GDP of some USD 41.40 trillion, representing over one-and-a half of the world’s output of goods and services, he added.
“Canada is quickly becoming a bridge between Asia and the rest of the world. One that offers businesses an unprecedented access to the new market opportunities. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi told PM Trudeau – Canada and India are made for each other.
“India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and youngest population. Those are two powerful attributes that bode well for our future and Canada wants to be an integral part of that future,” Sajjan said.
More than 1,000 Canadian companies and educational institutes are doing business with India, of which over 400 have physical presence in this country, Sajjan said.
In 2017-18, the bilateral trade volume is likely to be Rs 42,000 crore and “this is a great indicator of confidence that business communities have in our relationship”, he said.
Sajjan said there is a vast scope for expanding trade ties. Less than 1 per cent of Canadian exports are destined for India, while Canada accounts for just 0.15 pe cent of the Indian exports.
Vice-Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, who was was also present at the event, said China and India are the main drivers of trade and manufacturing activity in Asia.
“We are going through a very different form of internationalism, where forces of globalisation, open markets and liberal democracies are coming into direct conflict with forces of nationalism and protectionism.”
“The Indo-Pacific region happens to be the growth belly of Asia. In 2015-16, the global trade was around USD 16.6 trillion and Asia’s share in that was USD 12.8 trillion. This was mainly driven by China and India. Trade and manufacturing activity is centred in this region. Increasingly, the maritime domain is shaping the geo-politics of the region and of the world,” Luthra said.
“Both the countries have long coast lines and 90 per cent of their trade takes place through the sea route,” he said.
Considerable discussion on freedom of navigation is going on in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically on the South China Sea. All countries agree to the concept of freedom of navigation, he said.
However, the problem arises when different countries interpret maritime laws differently, Luthra said.
Another issue gaining prominence is blue-economy, water-based economic activities, which are socially inclusive, viable and sustainable, he said.
In this context, he talked out the Sagarmala project, a port-led development initiative in which investment up to USD 120 billion has been planned in the next few years.
Vikas Swarup, Indian High Commissioner to Canada, said, “We have 1.6 million people of Indian origin in Canada and 1,24,000 Indian students there. Both the countries have been working together and this will continue.moneycontrol