"India is a vital partner for Saskatchewan on many fronts," Norris said. "The Saskatchewan story was enthusiastically received in many areas including; trade, advanced education and research partnerships, immigration and international co-operation."
Saskatchewan’s delegation, which included representatives from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, SIAST, Canadian Light Source, Genome Prairie, Saskatchewan Research Council and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, met with Indian counterparts to foster enhanced co-operation and collaboration in their respective sectors.
The mission began with Norris speaking at the India Bio Conference in Bangalore, India’s largest biotechnology conference. This was a valuable opportunity for Saskatchewan to highlight its strengths and showcase what it has to offer India.
To highlight Saskatchewan’s immigration strategy and recruitment efforts three Entrepreneur sessions were conducted, which introduced participants to an array of investment and immigration opportunities.
In the area of advanced education, the University of Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology to collaborate on research, training, curriculum, institutional development, information dissemination, and faculty, student and staff exchanges.
"We were interested in exploring opportunities to share food processing technology and through this agreement we will strengthen teaching and research in the area of value added food processing," University of Saskatchewan Professor of Agriculture and Bioresource Engineering Dr. Venkatesh Meda said. "This is also an excellent opportunity to promote Saskatchewan’s raw food products for use in India’s food processing industry and we look forward to working with our Indian colleagues."
The pulse trade is one of Saskatchewan’s leading sources of trade with India.
"The Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association is optimistic that there are opportunities to increase pulse exports to India" Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Chair Murray Purcell said. "We are investing in research to find new uses for Saskatchewan pulses in existing traditional Indian foods,. By strengthening our relationship with researchers in India, we are positioning our already growing industry for continued growth."
As Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation (SCIC) and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, the Minister and delegates visited international aid projects supported by the Presbyterian World Service and Development, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Canadian International Development Agency.
The Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Human Development project in Chennai, India aims to increase women’s employability, income, literacy and education, and participation in their communities. The project also supports strengthening women’s voices at the local, regional, and national level in India.
"The connections our delegation made through this mission will lead to more international partnerships and opportunities for Saskatchewan people," Norris said. "We are eager to see our province’s relationship with India continue to grow.
In an increasingly competitive global environment, India is an important partner for Saskatchewan and is our fifth largest source country for newcomers to the province. In turn, Saskatchewan is India’s largest trading partner in Canada. Potential areas for further work with India may include nutritional security, water security, clean coal technology and synchrotron science.