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Joint Statement by India-Canada On the Occasion of the Visit to India by Mr Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

November 17, 2009

Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper paid an official visit to India from November 15-18, 2009 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. During his visit Prime Minister Harper called on the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil and the Vice President of India, Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari. The Leader of Opposition, Shri L.K. Advani and External Affairs Minister, Shri S.M. Krishna called on Prime Minister Harper.

In their discussions, the two Prime Ministers reviewed bilateral relations between India and Canada and discussed regional and global issues of shared interest.

The Prime Ministers noted the depth and dynamism of the relationship between the two countries which is marked by common values, and shared traditions of democracy, rule of law and pluralism. The two leaders recognize the contribution of the Indian-origin community in Canada in further strengthening the bilateral bonds between the societies of India and Canada.

The Prime Ministers agreed on the importance of working collaboratively towards global economic recovery, building international efforts in advance of the G-20 meeting that Canada will host in 2010. Prime Minister Harper looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Singh to Canada on this occasion in June 2010.

They also discussed approaches to address climate change with attention to the upcoming negotiations in Copenhagen. The two leaders agreed on the importance of moving forward constructively on the WTO Doha Round negotiations.

Prime Minister Harper strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 and expressed the hope that those behind the attacks would be swiftly brought to justice. He also conveyed assurances that Canada stood firmly with India in dealing with global terrorism. Both leaders reiterated the need for intensifying global cooperation in combating international terrorism. They called for an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework.

The Prime Ministers discussed issues of shared interest pertaining to the region, notably the stabilization and economic development of Afghanistan.

The Prime Ministers agreed on initiatives to strengthen and diversify bilateral relations and to collaborate on a shared international agenda. They also agreed to intensify the economic and trade relationship by concluding bilateral economic agreements.

The two governments welcomed ongoing efforts to strengthen the institutional framework for bilateral relations, including working towards concluding negotiations on the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, the Social Security Agreement, and the civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

The two leaders announced the setting up of a Joint Study Group that will explore the possibility of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and Canada. They also welcomed the scheduling of the first meeting of the JSG in the first half of December 2009 in New Delhi, with the aim of concluding the joint study within six months.

The Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in the area of energy. The MoU will enable cooperation in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, oil and natural gas, power generation, transmission, distribution and end-use, energy research and development.

The Prime Ministers recognize the important role played by the India-Canada Chief Executive Officers Forum, constituted by prominent companies from each country and encourage them to pursue means for expanding commercial relations between the two countries.

The Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction with the functioning of the institutional mechanisms which steer bilateral cooperation, and look forward to the launch of new mechanisms to reinforce the partnership. Both leaders expressed the hope that through concerted efforts, the institutional framework fostered by these initiatives would lead to an increase in bilateral trade from the current level to $15 billion annually in the next five years.

Both sides recognized education as an area of new momentum, the need to facilitate mutually beneficial linkages in science, technology and innovation, as well as build synergies between institutions of higher learning in Canada and India.

Recognizing the vibrant people to people ties linking the two countries, the two Prime Ministers noted the importance of citizens becoming better acquainted with each other through culture, sports and tourism. They look forward to the Winter Olympics to be hosted by Canada in 2010, the Commonwealth Games to be hosted by India in 2010, and the Year of India to be celebrated in locations across Canada in 2011.

To achieve the goals set out in this Statement, the two Leaders committed themselves to sustained political engagement, a structured exchange of high level visits and regular dialogues between their officials.

New Delhi
November 17, 2009

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