Canadian Defence Minister's India visit will aim to take strategic partnership forward

| Updated: Apr 17, 2017 22:49 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr 17 (ANI): Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan is visiting India from April 17 to 23, during which he will hold meetings with several senior ministers of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. During his trip, the minister will travel to New Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Mumbai. He will be meeting his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and other senior officials. In Punjab, Minister Sajjan will visit the Golden Temple and civil society organisations, and in Chandigarh, he will inaugurate the new office of the Consulate-General of Canada. In Mumbai, Sajjan will visit the Mumbai Port and meet several business and industry leaders. "I look forward to my first trip to India since becoming Canada's Minister of National Defense. This visit will further strengthen Canada and India's bilateral defence cooperation, and expand our partnership in the security and defence sectors," the Minister said on the occasion. India-Canada bilateral relations have seen a transformation in recent years underpinned by expanding economic engagement, regular high level interactions and long-standing people-to-people ties. During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Canada in April 2015, the two sides agreed to elevate the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership. Sajjan, the highest-profile Indo-Canadian in the Justin Trudeau government, is the fifth Canadian Minister to be in India just this year, and the eighth within the span of only nine months, upping the intensity of the bilateral dialogue process. During Prime Minister Modi's visit to Canada between April 14 and 16, 2015, bilateral defence and security engagement formed a significant component of the joint statement that was issued after the delegation-level talks, and it is being presumed that both sides will now take this forward during Minister Sajjan's visit. It may be recalled that in 2015, the Prime Ministers of India and Canada agreed that terrorism, extremism and radicalisation present security challenges to the peace, stability and prosperity of the two countries and humanity as a whole. Both then reaffirmed their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called for further efforts to eliminate terrorist safe havens and infrastructure; dismantle terrorist networks, their support systems and financing; and stem the cross-border movement of terrorists. The Prime Ministers affirmed the need to expand and deepen their continuing cooperation in countering terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism through joint efforts, and greater cooperation between their relevant government departments, including in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, joint research, countering narcotics and Improvised Explosive Devices. They also welcomed the meetings between the Indian and Canadian National Security Advisers and the Plan of Action agreed during the 13th meeting of the India-Canada Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism held in New Delhi on March 19, 2015. Both Prime Ministers viewed the productive dialogue on security issues positively and looked forward to the outcomes of the next round of the dialogue. They agreed to intensify bilateral engagement and exchange perspectives on emerging threats to national security, including in the cyber domain. In this context, they welcomed the signing of the MoU between the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada on cooperation in the area of cyber security. Recognising the importance of a free, open and secure internet they welcomed the commitment to a broader framework for future dialogue on cyber issues. The Prime Ministers then recognised defence cooperation as an important element of the overall bilateral security cooperation. To this end, they agreed to explore cooperative possibilities in diverse fields, including cold climate warfare, peacekeeping, and participation in respective defence staff college training. They also agreed to explore further cooperation in enhancing naval linkages, and staff exchanges. They also welcomed the signing of the Statement of Intent between Defence Research and Development Organisation of India and Defence Research and Development Canada, aimed at exploring potential cooperative initiatives in defence and security science and technology. (ANI)

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