ALBERTA’S United Conservative Party (UCP) Leader Jason Kenney, along with UCP Energy Critic Prasad Panda and Trade Critic Devin Dreeshen, announced on Monday that they had a successful visit to India.
“After spending six days in India meeting with senior government and business leaders, I am more confident than ever that Alberta can and should forge stronger ties with India, the world’s largest democracy,” said Kenney. “I have spent two decades developing relationships with key Indian political and business leaders. This trip was designed to renew those relationships, and leverage them for Alberta. With 1.3 billion potential consumers of Alberta exports and the fastest growing large economy, India represents a tremendous opportunity for Albertans as we seek to diversify our trade markets.”
During the visit, Kenney and the UCP delegation toured the world’s largest refinery, the Reliance facility at Jamnagar, Gujarat, as well as met with executives from Indian energy firms. As he did throughout the trip, Kenney advocated for Alberta oil and gas as a stable supply of energy for India’s growing economy.
“It’s clear that Indian officials and industry leaders are highly interested in Alberta oil and gas to help meet their burgeoning energy demands. India is currently reliant on oil imports from such places as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela. Alberta can supplant those suppliers with our politically stable, environmentally conscious energy products,” said Kenney. “But in order to seize on this opportunity, it’s more important than ever that Canada figure out ways to effectively get our energy products to market.”
Kenney and delegation also met with high-level senior government officials, including an hour-long meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, where he raised issues of importance to Alberta and Canada, including tariffs on Canadian pulse exports to India. Kenney and the UCP critics would be happy to debrief on their discussions with relevant federal and provincial government officials.
“I was pleased to raise in multiple meetings the matter of Indian tariffs on Canadian pulses such as peas and lentils, and am hopeful that our farmers will soon see some relief on this front,” said Kenney. “With business leaders, we also promoted Alberta as a preferred destination for Indian investment, including in petrochemical facilities, as well as with Alberta’s expertise in the service sector. Lastly, our delegation identified potential opportunities in such areas as tourism, post-secondary education, entertainment, and information technology.”
“Should the UCP have the privilege of forming government next spring, I will make strengthening commercial relations with India a top trade priority for the Government of Alberta, including returning to lead a Government mission as Premier,” said Kenney.
Kenney and delegation also visited cultural and religious sites, including the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Humayun’s Tomb, and Swaminarayan Akshardham, and took part in a Ganesh Festival in Mumbai.
Panda headed to Hong Kong for additional meetings.
List of some meetings:
Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj
Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari
Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Chief Government Whip Anurag Thakaur
Multi-party tea with Indian Parliamentarians
Chief Minister of Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh
Finance Minister of Punjab Manpreet Singh Badal
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh
Oil India Ltd.
Bharat PetroResources Ltd.
GAIL India Ltd.
Cairn Oil & Gas
Reliance Industries Ltd.
Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Sunjay Sudhir
Sumit Maheshwari, Managing Director & CEO at Fairbridge Capital Private Limited
Visit to Reliance Jio facilities
Prachi Kaul, PhD, Director, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute
High Commissioner of Canada to India Nadir Patel