Canada and India Broaden Strategic Partnership

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, today witnessed the signing of a nuclear cooperation agreement and memoranda of understanding (MOU) on cultural cooperation, higher education and earth sciences and mining. They also welcomed the conclusion of a Canada-India joint study that lays the groundwork for bilateral free trade negotiations.

"Our two countries are laying the foundation to take relations to the next level motivated by our close friendship and complementary economies,” said Prime Minister Harper following bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Singh. “The initiatives signed today confirm that we are serious about expanding our relationship.”

The two leaders welcomed the conclusion of the report of the Joint Study Group on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. They also noted that the recommendations in the report would be examined by both countries, and necessary processes to obtain approvals will be initiated immediately and will aim to be completed by late October.

The bilateral agreements and MOUs signed today reflect increased and broadened collaboration between the two countries. They are:

* A nuclear cooperation agreement which will provide access for Canada’s nuclear industry to India’s expanding nuclear market.

* An MOU on higher education which will encourage the continued development of synergies between Canadian and Indian post-secondary institutions.

* An MOU on earth sciences and mining which will foster improved dialogue on mining and related activities, including bilateral investment.

* An MOU on cultural cooperation which will facilitate bilateral cultural initiatives, aid in the creation of economic opportunities for both Canada and India, and help showcase Canadian cultural content in India, and Indian cultural content in Canada.

The two leaders also issued a joint statement outlining a number of areas of cooperation in the bilateral relationship.

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