Mumbai: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underlined here today that the ties between his country and India will not move ahead only on the political front and that there are “so many different ways you can engage”. On a day-long visit to Mumbai, he said, “The close ties (between India and Canada) and the incredible opportunities is what this trip is about. It is not a trip for handshakes and photo-ops.”
His comments came during an interaction with ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive Chanda Kochhar who mentioned about his last meeting with Modi where the two leaders had called their countries as “made for each other”. The Canadian prime minister is on a week-long visit to India. He has already visited Agra and Ahmedabad.
Going beyond the government or political equations, it is the deep people-to-people contact involving cultural and economic ties on which the relationship will move ahead, Trudeau said. “It is also people-to-people ties, it is also cultural, economic and business. There are so many different ways you can engage,” he added.
While speaking about the potential of the economic ties, he said, “We are the two largest democracies in the world, one by population and the other by surface area, and we certainly feel we can do better.” He said the 1.25 lakh Indian students who go to Canada every year were an important constituent of his country and that he hoped that the numbers will swell to make India the largest contributor of foreign students in Canada. “You talk about business-to-business or government-to-government (contact). For me, I would like to think about people-to-people,” Trudeau said.