BARDISH Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, visited New Delhi and Mumbai this week, where she met with senior Indian leaders from both the government and the private sector.
Throughout her trip, she pointed to the strong cultural ties between Canada and India as a foundation to build a closer investment relationship, and the fact Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses are the drivers of innovation and key partners for these closer ties.
Chagger also promoted Canada as a world-leading tourism destination, especially as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of Confederation.
While in Mumbai, Chagger met Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra. She also joined the Chief Minister for the inauguration of a new solar panel installation at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. This installation is Mumbai’s largest, and was built by Guelph-based clean energy firm Canadian Solar.
Senior executives from Yes Bank, Curocarte and Rolta Limited all expressed potential interest in expanding to Canada following productive meetings with Chagger.
Chagger also lead a panel discussion on women entrepreneurship (see photo), hosted by empoWer — India’s first accelerator for women entrepreneurs building tech ventures — where she promoted Canada as a destination of choice for women entrepreneurs looking at entering the North America market.
She also delivered a keynote address at a luncheon hosted by TiE Mumbai, a local branch of the world’s largest entrepreneurship network, where she encouraged entrepreneurs to consider startup investment opportunities in Canada.
During meetings with representatives of the Indian film industry, Chagger encouraged greater collaboration with Canada’s film industry. She also invited them to visit Canada for the International Film Festival of South Asia, North America’s largest South Asian film festival, taking place May 11-22 in Toronto.
Chagger said: “The Canada-India relationship is a top priority for our Government. With more than one million Canadians of Indian heritage, the deep ties that bind Canada and India offer tremendous potential to build and strengthen our commercial relationship. Meeting with leaders from both the Indian government and the private sector has allowed me to promote investment in our Canadian small businesses, and encourage greater growth and export opportunities for our Canadian entrepreneurs.”
IN New Delhi, Chagger met with the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) to discuss trade and business relations between India and Canada. She also spoke at the ICBC annual awards dinner, during which she emphasized the strong cultural and economic ties between Canada and India.
Chagger met with a number of cabinet ministers of the Union Government of India, including Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry; Ananth Kumar, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs; Kalraj Mishra, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME); and Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, Minister of State for MSME; as well as Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism. She also toured the Parliament of India and met with several Indian parliamentarians.
On March 28, Chagger hosted a round-table with women entrepreneurs from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). She then participated in an announcement with DataWind, a Mississauga-based ICT manufacturer, to celebrate the launch of VidyaTab-Punjabi, a Punjabi-language education tablet.
Later, she attended a round-table on promoting Canada–India tourism, which included representatives from the travel sectors of both countries and from Destination Canada, Canada’s tourism marketing agency.
Chagger concluded her stay in New Delhi with a meeting with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), an organization of self-employed women (see photo). She discussed the importance of women’s economic empowerment with several young women entrepreneurs who are working hard to earn additional income for their families.
- India is one of Destination Canada’s ten key overseas markets, with over 215,000 visitors to Canada in 2016.
- Canada’s Indo-Canadian community has a history spanning more than a century and today totals nearly 1.2 million people.
- India is a priority market in Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and India was worth almost $8 billion in 2016.
- Over 400 Canadian companies have a presence in India, and more than 1,000 actively pursue business in the market.
- India’s economy grew at a rate of 7.1 percent in 2016, making it the world’s fastest growing economy.
- Starting July 1, 2017, which is also Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, Air Canada is offering non-stop flights, three times a week, from Mumbai to Toronto.