18 November 2009
New Delhi, India
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Thank you Prime Minister Singh, and all Indians, for being such gracious hosts.
Visiting a country whose past has so greatly enriched our civilization, and whose future stands to transform our world has been an extraordinary and invigorating experience.
This trip comes at a critical time for both Canada and India. Facing the greatest global recession in half a century, our two countries need to work together for our common prosperity.
As Prime Minister Nehru noted to one of my predecessors, John Diefenbaker, "It is a fundamental rule of life that if you give friendship, you get friendship in return."
Ladies and gentlemen, I have come to India with my hand extended in friendship, resolved to usher in an era of even stronger relations between our two great countries.
We have a solid foundation to build upon. The bonds between Canada and India are strong and plentiful. We are both democratic federal states that have forged cohesive societies out of ethnically, spiritually and linguistically diverse populations. And we are both nations whose aspirations are being realized through the ingenuity and the resiliency of our people.
Now is the time for our two countries to unite in common cause to capitalize on our shared strengths and to realize our full potential. Today, Prime Minister Singh and I are taking steps that will help us do just that.
Canada and India have agreed to take the first step towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. In the coming months, our two countries will launch a Joint Study Group to develop the parameters of the future agreement. By removing trade barriers and streamlining regulatory requirements, the agreement we will develop will allow Canada and India to use our economic strengths to meet each other's economic needs.
Energy is a case in point. With an abundance of natural resources and technological expertise in the area, Canada is an emerging energy superpower. With a rapidly expanding economy and growing infrastructure needs, India is one of the largest energy consumers in the world. Indeed, Canada's strengths and India's needs have made collaboration on energy an emerging pillar of our relationship.
And that's why energy is the subject of the agreement Ministers Day and Sharma just signed, which will increase cooperation in such fields as clean and renewable energy, oil and gas exploration, power generation and research and development.
Taken together, the two agreements Canada and India are signing today will expand trade, open doors for our exporters, spur economic growth and create jobs in both countries.
Working together, our two countries will seize the opportunities that lie before us, and arrive at a brighter and even more prosperous future.
Thank you. Namaste.