India asks Canada to liberalise its visa regime

Toronto: India has asked Canada to liberalise its visa regime to achieve the goal of increasing bilateral trade to 15 billion dollars annually in the next three years.

"This is one of the key issues to be discussed at seventh round of negotiations toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement scheduled in New Delhi from February 5 to 7," Indian High Commissioner to Canada Nirmal Verma said.

He said visa laws are among some issues which are substantially discouraging influx of genuine Indian investors, professionals, and businesses to Canada.

Verma also termed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries as a "landmark achievement".

"The text of the agreement and negotiations has been concluded. It is the process that needs to be done," he said.

"Canada is several steps ahead from US, France and Australia in the field of civil nuclear cooperation. Both countries were committed to complete remaining steps necessary to ensure its early implementation," Verma said.

India intends to increase the nuclear power generation capacity from the current 3 per cent to about 25 per cent by 2050 and this provides a great opportunity for Canadian nuclear industry, the diplomat further said.

Stating that India today is at a historic phase when the world is shifting course, Verma said that the socio-economic transformation in the country of more than one billion people will have enormous repercussions for the rest of the world.

Asserting that India can become an anchor of stability and opportunity for global economy, Verma said New Delhi sees new and exciting possibilities in working together with Canada.

"Despite the global economic crisis, the Indian economy has shown resilience. Although our growth has slowed to 6.5 per cent, we hope to resume higher growth rates, to meet the developmental aspirations of our country's young population where 50 per cent are below 25 years of age," Verma said.

India's economic fundamentals have remained strong with a regulated banking sector, high savings rate, a vibrant private sector and an economy largely driven by domestic demands, Verma said, adding India has introduced extensive reforms and liberalised to allow participation of external partners.

Inviting Canadian investment in the country, Verma said the government plans to invest over USD one trillion in next five years for infrastructure development alone.

"Of course there are other areas of growth in manufacturing, telecommunications and services sector too. Besides, retail sector was also opened to foreign investors," Verma said.