India, Canada agree to expand ties, combat terror

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24 February 2018

India and Canada on Friday signed a series of MoUs and agreements, including on IT, energy cooperation and sports and on combating terrorism, to expand bilateral ties, during the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 
Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Prime Minister Narendra Modi  

During a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trudeau in New Delhi on Friday, the two countries also ''extensively discussed'' the issue of concluding the Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA), but, could not come to an agreement.

However, reports quoting the Canadian prime minister said, Canada managed to obtain investment commitments worth around $1 billion from Indian investors. ''Earlier this week we took a major step in strengthening our economic relationship when I announced a billion dollars in two-way investments between Canada and India, which will create 5,800 good middle-class jobs back home in Canada. Whether it is Canadian firms exporting to India or India's global companies creating jobs for Canadians, we all win,'' said Trudeau.

The Canadian delegation has been pushing for investment opportunities for Canadian pension funds in India's infrastructure assets.

Canada had been pushing for the investment treaty long before Trudeau's visit. A number of his cabinet ministers have been visiting India on a regular basis to push India for signing the FIPPA.

The FIPPA, which is aimed at safeguarding investor rights of both countries, was almost ready in 2013. However, amidst a series of international arbitration cases, India revoked all investment treaties and came out with a new model.

''We have also decided to strengthen our economic cooperation. Canadian pension funds are one of the main sources of investments for developing India's infrastructure. We have asked our chief negotiators to double their efforts in concluding the negotiations for a CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) and FIPPA,'' Modi said during a joint press conference with Trudeau.

Canadian minister for international trade François-Philippe Champagne had visited India twice last year in an effort to get the FIPPA off ground and the minister was almost sure that the FIPPA was ready to be signed.

Canada was more interested in the FIPPA than a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India as negotiations had not yet reached the final stage.





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