New Canadian Media

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in France for a four-day visit, France’s main newspaper Le Monde has refused to run his  interview for his refusal to sit for a face-to-face interview.

News East West

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Published in Western Europe

BY INDIRA PRAHST Sociologist THIS week, several Sikh, Muslim and human rights organizations as well as scholars continued discussing, strategizing and organizing protests during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vancouver on April 16. Modi will be accompanied by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Some of the groups that have united as “Communities United […]

Indo-Canadian Voice

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Published in Top Stories
Friday, 10 April 2015 20:01

Are You Ready For Modi

by BINOY THOMAS Of course, you heard the news, the ‘rock star’ prime minister of India is coming to Canada. The apparent indifference in the mainstream media, I hope, will be countered by the excitement within the Indo-Canadian community that is ready to be rocked. According to Dr. Azad Kaushik, co-chair of the National Alliance […]

The Weekly Voice

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Published in Commentary
Friday, 10 April 2015 20:01

Modi’s Three-Nation Tour Agenda

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on Thursday on a three-nation tour of France, Germany and Canada that will focus on boosting trade and economic ties, including in defence and railways, keeping in mind the government’s Make in India initiative. The prime minister, who will arrive late on Thursday in Paris, earlier said that […]

The Weekly Voice

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Published in International
Friday, 10 April 2015 20:01

Modi Thanks Sharif For Help In Yemen

New Delhi: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday thanked his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif for his country’s assistance in evacuating 11 Indians from strife-torn Yemen. “I welcome our 11 citizens who’ve returned from Yemen with assistance from Pakistan. Thank you PM Nawaz Sharif for your humanitarian gesture,” according to an official statement from the […]

The Weekly Voice

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Published in South Asia
Friday, 10 April 2015 10:14

Security Ramped Up for Indian PM's Visit

By A Special Correspondent

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks set for a major outreach towards the powerful Sikh community in Canada but that is not going to stop certain groups with strident agendas to stage rallies and protests next week.

The RCMP’s Protective Policing Services is also planning to deploy a high-level security plan akin to those reserved for the president of the United States, the Queen of England or the Pope.

This will include air support, alternative motorcade routes and last minute unannounced changes.

Modi’s Special Protection Group (SPG) and India’s spy agency commonly known as RAW or Research and Analysis Wing have been in Canada working with the Mounties and the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office on security details.

Modi’s itinerary includes visits to Ottawa, Toronto And Vancouver, where he is expected to go to the Ross Street Sikh Gurdwara, a Hindu temple in Surrey and attend a State Banquet hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Observers feel the Modi government’s outreach towards the Sikh community in Canada will significantly strengthen the moderates and will also seek to reassure the Sikh community abroad that India will always stand with it to protect its interests.

So far, Canadian Sikhs under the banners of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and Canada unit of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (Mann) are reportedly gearing-up to protest against Modi’s upcoming visit to Canada. 

Protests planned

The organizers of proposed protests say that Modi has a track record of severe human rights violation and he is leading a government run by Hindu extremist organizations, which indulge in attacks on religious minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims.

Before he became Prime Minister of India and as chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi was denied a visa to Canada as a suspected human rights abusers. In 2002, Modi was in power in Gujarat during religious riots in which 1,000 people were killed, mostly Muslims. He was eventually cleared of any wrong doing by the Supreme but his fervent Hindu nationalism had poisoned his foreign relations and several other Western countries shunned him, including the United States.

In a recent update, Sikhs For Justice alleged that “Indian diplomats in Canada led by High Commissioner Vishnu Prakash have embarked upon a fierce campaign of intimidation and coercion against the members of the Sikh community, particularly media, to ensure their silence on the issue of PM Modi's involvement in the 2002 massacre of Muslims in the state of Gujarat.”

The group criticized Indian diplomats in Canada for exceeding their legitimate limits and claimed the activities of the Indian diplomatic officials posted in Canada violate provisions of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

“The Indian High Commission in Canada has set up a 'state within a state' and is openly challenging the sovereignty of Canada, violating Canadian and international law and thus defying the autonomy of the host Government,” said Sikhs for Justice.

Tussle within community

Indian media reporting on the upcoming visit said Canada has been witness to a fierce intra-community tussle between the moderate Sikhs, who are soft on India, and the pro-Khalistani hardliners who leave no stone unturned to target India on its human rights record.

In fact, in the decade that followed Operation Bluestar in 1984, when Punjab was wracked by militancy, pro-Khalistan Sikhs in Canada were at the forefront of fund mobilization for the secessionist movement, said the Deccan Herald.

Observers feel the Modi government’s outreach towards the Sikh community in Canada will significantly strengthen the moderates and will also seek to reassure the Sikh community abroad that India will always stand with it to protect its interests. Hate-crimes against Sikhs have increased in the West, and India has taken up the issue strongly with the concerned governments.

The Prime Minister will visit Canada from April 14, on the third and final leg of his forthcoming foreign tour after visiting France and Germany. He is also expected to visit a Hindu temple in Canada, which could be the Laxmi Narayan Temple in Surrey.

The organizers of proposed protests say that Modi has a track record of severe human rights violation and he is leading a government run by Hindu extremist organizations, which indulge in attacks on religious minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims.

Apart from the capital city of Ottawa, the Prime Minister will also travel to Toronto where a New York Madison Square-like event is planned by the Indian diaspora at the Ricoh Coliseum in the city.

The Madison Square event during Modi’s US visit last September had been a huge success and the Indian diaspora in Canada is aiming to make it a bigger event than the one in New York.

Modi’s foreign visit starts on April 9 and he will hold talks with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian PM Stephen Harper during his eight-day tour, which is part of India’s “Link-West” policy.

Next month, Modi will visit China. He is also likely to visit Mongolia and South Korea after that as part of India’s “Act East” policy. During his China visit, Mr Modi is likely to visit Xian, the hometown of President Xi Jinping.


Republished in partnership with South Asian Post

Published in National

by Saumitra Chaudhuri in Vancouver

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Canada later this month. He will be visiting Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver in the first bilateral visit in four decades (though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Toronto in 2010 for the G20 summit).

Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to India in November 2012, there has been a significant change in relations between Canada and India.

Still, notwithstanding the good relations that our two countries have enjoyed and the many similarities between our institutions, trade and investment has remained subdued.

India’s needs and Canada’s capacities complement each other in an amazingly unique manner.

Presently, bilateral annual merchandise trade between Canada and India is $6 billion US, less than a 10th of the level of India’s trade with the United States and less than half of that with Australia.

However, India’s trade with Canada has been fast growing: by 77 per cent since 2010 and by 18 per cent in the first 10 months of 2014. And the potential for much larger volumes is definitely there.

‘Win-Win’ Situation

India’s needs and Canada’s capacities complement each other in an amazingly unique manner, underscoring a truly “win-win” situation.

India lacks hydrocarbons and steel grade coal. Canada has an abundance of both. India is a big consumer of pulses and Canada grows the stuff to meet part of India’s needs.

Canadian pulp and newsprint and potash find their way to India. Canada is a big market for the kind of goods that India manufactures for the export market – from apparel and fabric to carpets and leather articles.

For obvious reasons India would like to diversify its sources of crude oil supply. Canada represents a politically stable source and one that is barely tapped.

India and Canada also have huge complementarities in information technology, higher education and urban planning.

While there are well-regarded Indian companies in Canada and well-regarded Canadian companies in India along with some co-operation in the area of high technology – from nuclear energy to avionics to solar cells – these are still only the beginnings.

India offers a host of opportunities for Canada’s mature pension funds and insurance business. One half of the bilingualism of business and commerce in both countries is identical, i.e. English, and, of course, Canada is home to more than a million people of Indian origin.

Changing Petroleum Markets

But perhaps the lowest hanging fruit – and a pretty massive one at that – is oil and gas. India’s refineries processed 224 million tonnes of crude oil in 2014-15, a number that is likely to increase by five to 10 million tonnes each year for the next several years.

India imports most of its crude oil needs and in 2014-15 that was about 190 million tonnes, nearly 20 million tonnes more than in 2011-12. Most of the oil comes from the Middle East, while some is sourced from West Africa and about 17 per cent from Latin America – mostly Venezuela, but also Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador.

Supply from Canada was initiated last year. For obvious reasons, India would like to diversify its sources of crude oil supply. Canada represents a politically stable source and one that is barely tapped.

On the other hand, Canadian oil production, especially from the oil sands of Alberta, but also from offshore fields in the Atlantic, is bound to increase with the passage of time.

For Canada, the growing oil markets of Asia clearly represent the potential to create the income and employment opportunities that Canadians deserve.

The principal market historically, i.e. the U.S., has its own surging output. For Canada, the growing oil markets of Asia clearly represent the potential to create the income and employment opportunities that Canadians deserve.

In fact, the world’s petroleum (oil and gas) markets are undergoing a change in geography: even as the weight of production shifts westwards, the increments to demand moves to the east. More and more oil and gas will traverse the Atlantic and Pacific from the Americas and West Africa to markets in Asia.

But Canada has a logistical problem – its pipelines lie in the north-south axis well suited to service the traditional U.S. market, but unsuited to meet Asian markets.

None of the pipelines run to either the Atlantic or the Pacific coast. The TXL pipeline would have theoretically brought Canadian oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast, but that is on hold.

The Boost Canada Needs

Canada needs to build those pipelines that can link rich oil and gas fields to tidewater. For India, Canada’s east coast makes more logistical sense, while for East Asia the west coast would be convenient.

With new technology that has still to peak, more hydrocarbon potential will emerge in Canada’s provinces than previously believed.

A pipeline infrastructure that can take the product to ships on the east and west coasts is something that Canadians must commit to, for they understand their country better than overseas customers left to fill in the gaps in Canada’s pipeline infrastructure.

I hope Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada will, among other things, boost the prospect for our bilateral commercial ties in the area of oil and gas.

Just as I am sure Indian refiners would like to tank up on Canadian crude, I am sure that Indian investors would be open to taking stakes in gas liquefaction facilities if Canadian natural gas can be delivered there.

Indian Oil has already taken a multi-billion dollar stake in a gas project in British Colombia, and the magic of working closer together will help facilitate greater levels of profitable and mutually beneficial co-investment in developing Canada’s rich oil and gas resources.


Saumitra Chaudhuri is a Senior Fellow with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and a former member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.

Published in Commentary

New Delhi (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on Thursday on a three-nation tour of France, Germany and Canada that will focus on boosting trade and economic ties, including in defence and railways, keeping in mind the government’s Make in India initiative. The prime minister, who will arrive late on Thursday in Paris, earlier said that […]

Indo-Canadian Voice

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Published in India
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 09:24

Nuclear Agenda on Modi's Canada Tour

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada next month may see a much-awaited commercial agreement being signed paving way for Canada to supply uranium to India. 

“We look forward to resuming our civil nuclear energy cooperation with Canada, especially for sourcing uranium fuel for our nuclear power plants,” Modi posted on Facebook.

Sources told Deccan Herald that New Delhi and Ottawa might also announce joint research and development in the field of nuclear energy, focusing on augmenting capacity of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors of India. 

A senior government official said that New Delhi and Ottawa might also announce a joint research and development programme, primarily focusing on augmenting capacity of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in India to 750 MW.

The prime minister will visit Canada from April 14 to 16 after touring France and Germany. He will meet his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Ottawa and will address business leaders in Toronto in Vancouver.

Modi recently noted that Canada was also the first country to have completed the requirements for civil nuclear cooperation with India after New Delhi secured the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008. 

Historical Context

India and Canada signed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010 and followed it up by inking the administrative arrangement in 2012. Though India and United States clinched a nuclear deal in 2008, the protracted negotiations over administrative arrangement concluded only recently. 

Cameco Corporation of Canada has since long been engaged in commercial negotiation for supplying uranium from its mines in Canada to nuclear power plants in India. 

Sources, according to the Deccan Herald, said that a breakthrough in the complex negotiation was expected soon and a deal might be clinched after the Modi-Harper meeting in Ottawa. A senior government official said that New Delhi and Ottawa might also announce a joint research and development programme, primarily focusing on augmenting capacity of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in India to 750 MW.

Ottawa had snapped its nuke ties with New Delhi after accusing the Indian government of using plutonium produced in a reactor provided by Canada and installed in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Trombay for its first nuclear test in Pokhran in 1974. 

The infamous Pokhran desert site test in 1974 triggered howls of outrage around the world and frightened Pakistan into speeding up its own nuclear program.

While working with India then, Canada was training Pakistan‘s nuclear scientists and engineers in Karachi, Ontario and New Brunswick. All of them were working for Pakistan‘s nuclear godfather, Dr. A.Q. Khan.

Canada retaliated by cutting off nuclear assistance to India, but by then the country had transferred enough technology to independently build seven Canadian Candu nuclear reactor ‘clones‘.

In 1998, the Canadian taxpayer funded arms race between Pakistan and India blew up with India detonating five nuclear test bombs prompting Pakistan to explode six of its own.

A New Deal

Canada‘s nuclear relationship with India was reignited by the Stephen Harper government, which signed a nuclear co-operation deal between the two countries in Toronto during the G20 summit.

The deal allows for uranium exports to India and technological exchanges that could be worth billions to Canada’s nuclear industry.

For the India friendly British Columbia government, it’s unclear whether New Delhi’s appetite for uranium may force a rethink on its moratorium on uranium mining in the province.

India’s then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his country will play by the rules this time and consigned the earlier treachery to the history books.

State of Uranium 

For the India friendly British Columbia government, it’s unclear whether New Delhi’s appetite for uranium may force a rethink on its moratorium on uranium mining in the province.

According to the Association for Mineral Exploration in BC, Uranium is one of the more common elements in the earth’s crust, and is about 40 times more common than silver and 500 times more common than gold. 

Canada is the world’s largest exporter of uranium and has the most stringent regulations and safeguards on its use.

Currently, uranium mines are safely operating in over 20 countries around the world. Canada is the world’s largest exporter of uranium and has the most stringent regulations and safeguards on its use. Uranium and thorium have many positive and beneficial uses, principally in the energy sector and is critical in health care applications. 

Although British Columbia has 196 known mineral occurrences of uranium and/or thorium, there has never been an operating uranium mine in the province. A moratorium on uranium exploration in British Columbia was introduced in 1980. The moratorium expired in 1987 and was not renewed.

On April 24, 2008 the Government of British Columbia established a regulation that ensured that any future claims do not include the rights to uranium. On the same day Government declared an effective moratorium on uranium exploration, mining and development. On March 12, 2009, the BC government issued a Cabinet order that stopped any review of proposed uranium and thorium exploration and development in the province.

Legal action has been commenced by a number of mineral claim holders seeking compensation for their loss of their ability to explore for and develop any uranium that may be within their claims.


Republished in partnership with South Asian Post.

 

Published in International

The Aam Admi Party’s (AAP’s) suicidal tendencies are bound to help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) more than any other party because the saffron outfit is politically better placed to exploit them. If the AAP hadn’t been driven by competitive egos, it might have been able to build on its success in the […]

The Weekly Voice

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