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Text of High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria’s remarks on 8th October 2020

Invest India 2020

Text of High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria’s remarks on 8th October 2020

I am delighted to welcome all distinguished participants to this exclusive conversation on the India opportunity. 

First off, thank you Fairfax, and Canada-India Business Council, for putting this together, even in the midst of a global crisis. We should be out of the woods next year and it is important to look at a longer term perspective.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak this year to a large number of business leaders across Canada. My one big takeaway from Canadian companies already active in India has been the strong assertion of confidence in the medium term prospects of the Indian economy.

India and Canada declared a strategic partnership when Prime Minister Modi visited Canada in 2015. The headline of this partnership has clearly been the ten-fold increase in Canadian portfolio investment in India, from 5 billion to over 50 billion dollars, led by champions of India such as Prem Watsa. This is patient capital, in for the long run, which has supported key sectors like infrastructure, logistics, energy, real estate. This investment is growing and symbolises I think, Canada’s faith in the India story.

In India, we value this investment deeply. It is a vote of confidence in the transformative reforms being planned and rolled out even during the pandemic. 

Our stimulus package for the Indian economy, came embedded with next generation economic reforms across the board: in land, labour, laws; in health, agriculture, education. 

All this is reinforced by a strong acceleration towards a digital future, which will help India leap-frog to the frontlines of technology.

Most importantly, I think this is an India listening carefully to its partners. We have shown great policy flexibility in response to the feedback from investors. Our Prime Minister is personally committed to nurturing these investments. 

This nimble policy ecosystem will keep the investment climate friendly, whether in tax regimes or regulatory systems. With Canada, we also hope to work out soon a bilateral Investment Protection Agreement and perhaps even a limited trade agreement.

India has now signalled an unwavering commitment to multilateralism, globalisation, global supply chains and global partnerships. 

In the next decades, India will remain a hub for digital growth for innovation, for skills, for start-ups, while remaining committed to democracy, rule of law, transparency, diversity.

India’s rise to prosperity will be peaceful and inclusive, opening up multiple opportunities for our partners. I look forward to hearing from our eminent speakers today.

Thank you