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Canada and India are building stronger ties

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Ed Fast, the Minister of International Trade, met with Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, to discuss international security and the expanding bilateral relationship between Canada and India.

They reiterated Canada’s keenness to build on the relationship in support of India’s prosperity and economic development, particularly in the areas of energy and food security, education, innovation and infrastructure.

They also discussed the importance of foreign investment into all regions of India and that Canada should be the preferred partner in that effort.  Fast looked to India’s new government to bring new energy and ambition to the CEPA negotiations. A CEPA would improve market access for goods and services, eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and boost economic growth for both Canada and India.

They discussed regional and international security issues, and the firm foundations of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law upon which Canadian and Indian shared interests rest.

Baird attended a cricket demonstration with officials from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the NGO Magic Bus at the Sanskriti School cricket field in New Delhi. 

“Canada and India already share a vibrant relationship,” said Baird. “Collaboration in sports offers another wonderful opportunity for both our countries to celebrate our friendship. With this in mind, BCCI partners and I have announced our intention to organize exhibition cricket matches between Indian and Canadian players in Canada next year.”

The event highlighted the importance of sport as a universal language, one that not only serves to build bridges between nations but is also a powerful tool in promoting health, development, peace and respect for others. 

Baird and other guests of honour took part in a “Cricket for Change” activity organized by Magic Bus, which takes children and youth on a journey out of poverty by focusing on enhancing their knowledge and practices regarding education, health, gender equality, leadership and livelihoods through sports.

An event celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child at Delhi Public School in R.K. Puram provided an opportunity to raise young Indian students’ awareness of child, early and forced marriage.

“The International Day of the Girl Child provides a foundation we can build on to ensure that girls get the recognition that they deserve as equal and powerful actors in society,” said Baird. “I commend Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to improving access to education for girls and providing equal opportunity for women. Canada is keen to collaborate with India to achieve those goals. Child, early and forced marriage threatens the lives and futures of girls and young women around the world.”

Canada has made it a foreign policy and development priority to end child, early and forced marriage in a generation, and looks forward to a continued partnership with the Indian government and local and international non-governmental organizations to make this happen.

Child, early and forced marriage was a key theme in an op-ed published in The Hindu by Baird.

Posted: Nov 3, 2014

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