BY SHRI K R NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE ACCEPTING THE CREDENTIALS
FROM MR. PETER WALKER, HIGH COMMISSIONER-DESIGNATE OF CANADA
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER
It gives me great
pleasure to welcome you to India and to receive the Letter of Credence
accrediting you as the High Commissioner of Canada to India.
India and Canada are based on our shared commitment to the ideals of democracy,
rule of law, respect for basic human values and a deep personal understanding
that exists among the leaders of our two countries.
have strengthened the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our
two countries. The visit of Prime Minister Chretien to India in January
1996 with "Team Canada" and a high powered delegation of businessmen
and industrialists has provided a new momentum for the growth of our bilateral
relations. The forthcoming visit of Governor-General Romeo Leblanc to
India will, I am sure, take our bilateral cooperation to new levels.
Canada, as a friend
and partner, has played an important role in India's economic development.
Economic relations continue to be the cornerstone of our bilateral ties.
It is heartening, therefore, to see that trade between our two countries
has increased steadily from Canadian $500 million in 1991 to nearly Canadian
$1 billion today. Canadian investment in India, though far below its potential,
showed great promise in 1996 when Canada was ranked as the 13th largest
investor in India. The opening up of the Indian economy and its sustained
growth have created new opportunities for partnership for mutual benefit
between Canada and India.
Canada is home to
half a million people of Indian origin. Indo-Canadians provide an important
cultural link between our two countries. Canadians of Indian origin have,
I am happy to note, made important contributions to your social and economic
development and are now represented in the Canadian Government. They have
a key role to play in the growth of India-Canada relations.
Excellency, a vital
issue of concern to our two countries is the scourge of international
terrorism, particularly externally sponsored terrorism, which is a threat
to multi-cultural and multi-religious societies like India and Canada.
Increasingly, terrorism has crossed boundaries and is affecting all parts
of the world. Our joint fight against terrorism has received a welcome
boost with the setting up of a Joint Working Group on Terrorism this year.
The year 1997 is
an important landmark in India-Canada relations as India celebrates its
fifty years of independence and Canada its year of the Asia Pacific. The
Asia Pacific is an area with immense potential and opportunities for future
co-operation between India and Canada. Canada, a Pacific nation has an
important role to play in the Asia-Pacific region. India, a major Asian
nation, has had close social, cultural and economic links with the Pacific
from time immemorial and has a significant role to play in the Asia-Pacific
region. As we work towards renewal of our links with this region, India
and Canada can find new ways to cooperate as we have in international
organisations, such as the United Nations, on peace keeping, disarmament
and environment issues.
Excellency, I am
confident that during your tenure in India, the multifaceted ties between
our two countries would be further enhanced. I wish you every success
and assure you of the fullest cooperation of the Government of India in
the discharge of your important responsibilities.