Indian PM arrives in Canada for three-day visit
Updated: 2015-04-15 09:56
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while disembarking his plane after arriving at the Ottawa International Airport April 14, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
OTTAWA - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here Tuesday evening for a three-day visit,the first to Canada by a sitting Indian prime minister since 1973.
Modi is expected to meet his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Ottawa, the Canadian national capital, Wednesday morning, with the talks focusing on how to enhance trade and investment between India and Canada.
During his visit, he will also meet Governor General of Canada David Johnston. He will make stops in Toronto, as well as Sikh and Hindu temples in Vancouver and Surrey. The three cities are home to more than one million Indo-Canadians.
Canada's trade with India was 6.3 billion Canadian dollars (about $5.04 billion) last year and Canadian investment in India remained less than one billion Canadian dollars, official data showed.
Canada and India restarted stalled trade talks last month and are reportedly making substantial progress toward an "ambitious agreement."
However, most Canadian reports said it is a long shot, given India's highly protected market and the entrenched positions of both sides on key sensitive issues.
According to the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, a key stumbling block to full free trade is that Canada wants a lot in terms of access for its goods in a highly protected market, but has relatively little to offer in return because tarriffs are already relatively low in Canada. And Ottawa is reluctant to give the one thing New Delhi really wants -- freer mobility of visitors and temporary service workers in Canada.
Apart from holding talks on trade and investments, Modi is expected to clinch a fuel supply agreement with Canada.
"We look forward to resuming our civil nuclear energy cooperation with Canada, especially for sourcing uranium fuel for our nuclear power plants," Modi posted on his Facebook page late last week.
Nuclear power is reportedly at the heart of a rapprochement between India and Canada in recent years. Canada banned exports of uranium and nuclear hardware to India in the 1970s after New Delhi used Canadian technology to develop a nuclear bomb.