Canadian PM in India to boost economic ties
NEW DELHI (AP) — India and Canada agreed Tuesday to boost cooperation in civil nuclear energy, agriculture, information technology and joint research and development in the defense field.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh felt that "energy cooperation, particularly exports of Canadian oil and natural gas as well as renewable energy cooperation, was an area with enormous potential."
Harper said the two sides welcomed the conclusion of discussions for operationalizing an agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation they signed two years ago.
The agreement provides Canada's nuclear industry access to India's expanding nuclear market __ cooperating with Indian civilian nuclear installations under international safeguards.
"Canada is an energy superpower. India has enormous energy needs," Harper told reporters.
India stressed that cooperation with Canada in the field of agriculture was crucial to its food security as it imported 40 percent of its pulses and 25 per cent of potash requirements from Canada.
"With India's large and growing population, food security in the coming years is a strategic imperative for India and Canada can be an important partner in this regard," India's President Mukherjee told Harper during their meeting earlier in the day.
Indian and Canadian officials signed three agreements for avoidance of double social security contributions by workers and cooperation in the areas of information technology, electronics and joint research and development in the defense field and science and technology, an Indian government statement said.
Canada is seeking to boost its presence in Asia, and two-way trade touched $5.2 billion last year, up more than 28 percent from 2010. Total Canadian investment in India was estimated about $4.3 billion, India's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Harper said both sides expect the two-way trade to triple to $15 billion by 2015.
Canada mainly exports vegetables, fertilizers, machinery and wood pulp, while its main imports from India are organic chemicals, knit and woven apparel, precious stones and metals, electronics and machinery.
Harper will also visit Bangalore, a key hub of India's information technology, before ending his six-day visit to India on Friday.