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Prime Minister Harper and Members of Media,

I am delighted to visit this beautiful country and this charming city.

I attach the highest importance to India's relations with Canada.

This has been reinforced by my excellent experience with Canada as Chief Minister of Gujarat.

55 PM Modi with Canada PM Stephen Harper at Exchange of Agreements and Press Statements (8)

Our relationship had drifted in the past. In recent years, Prime Minister Harper's vision and leadership changed the course of our relations.

I am conscious of the significance of this visit in the history of our relations.

I have come at a time when the importance of this relationship for our two countries has never been stronger.

We are two major democracies with deeply shared values.

Few countries in the world can match Canada's potential to be a partner in India's economic transformation. And, it exists in a new environment in India, which is open, predictable, stable and easy to do business in.

Equally, the vast scale of India's transformation, and our rapid economic growth, offers immense opportunities for Canada.

I seek Canada's cooperation and investment in every area of India's national development priority,- Energy and Infrastructure, Manufacturing and Skills, Smart Cities and agro-industry, and Research and Education.

Prime Minister Harper and I are absolutely committed to establish a new framework for economic partnership. I am pleased that we have made rapid progress on long pending agreements.

55 PM Modi with Canada PM Stephen Harper at Exchange of Agreements and Press Statements (4)

I am confident that we can conclude the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement very soon. We will also implement the road map to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement by September 2015.

The thirteen agreements on skill development reflect my commitment to empower the youth of India with world class skills for India and the global economy.

The agreement on procurement of uranium from Canada for our civilian nuclear power plants launches a new era of bilateral nuclear cooperation.

It also reflects a new level of mutual trust and confidence. Further, it will contribute to India's efforts to power its growth with clean energy.

As the agreement today on Space highlights, we have strong synergy for cooperation in areas of advanced technologies.

To support greater engagement and people-to-people contacts, we have liberalised our visa policy for Canada. We will issue Electronic Visa Authorisation for tourist visa for Canadian nationals. They will also be eligible for ten-year visas now.

Prime Minister and I agree that a strong bilateral relationship will provide a solid foundation to pursue our common international interests.

We also agree that in the troubled world of today, our cooperation will help advance our shared values and peace in the world.

We in India felt Canada's pain when this city was struck by a senseless act of terrorism.

The threat of terrorism is growing; its shadow extends over cities and lives across the world.

55 PM Modi with Canada PM Stephen Harper at Exchange of Agreements and Press Statements (9)

We will deepen our cooperation to combat terrorism and extremism. We will also promote a comprehensive global strategy, and consistent policy and action against all sources of terrorism and its support.

We also agree on the need to enhance our defence and security cooperation. I welcome our recent agreement on cyber security.

We both recognise that peace and stability in West Asia will make us safer at home; so will Afghanistan's successful transition.

I believe that Canada is a major Asia Pacific power and should play a more active role, including in regional institutions, in promoting a stable and prosperous future for the region.

I look forward to our continued partnership in G 20.

In conclusion, let me say that ours is a natural partnership of shared values.

It is an economic partnership of immense mutual benefit.

It is a strategic partnership that can help address many of our shared global challenges.

55 PM Modi with Canada PM Stephen Harper at Exchange of Agreements and Press Statements (12)

And, it is a relationship nurtured by the emotional bonds of a vibrant Indian community of 1.2 million.

I am confident that this visit will be a springboard for a new strategic partnership between our two democracies.

Finally, Prime Minister has been most gracious and generous in choosing to go with me to Ottawa and Vancouver. I also thank him for returning to us a precious piece of our heritage.

There is no better evidence of his commitment to our relationship. There will be no better way for me to experience this country's huge diversity.

Thank you.

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Where convention fails, innovation helps: PM Modi
June 16, 2021
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Stresses the need for insulating our planet against the next pandemic
During the pandemic digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console: PM
Disruption does not have to mean despair, we must keep the focus on the twin foundations of repair and prepare: PM
The challenges our planet faces can only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human centric approach: PM
This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience, but also of our imagination. It is a chance to build a more inclusive, caring and sustainable future for all: PM
India is home to one of the world's largest start-up eco systems, India offers what innovators and investors need: PM
I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of: Talent, Market, Capital, Eco-system and, Culture of openness: PM
France and Europe are our key partners, our partnerships must serve a larger purpose in service of humanity: PM

Excellency, my good friend President Macron,

Mr. Maurice Levy, Chairman of the Publicis Group,

Participants from around the world,

Namaste!

Congratulations to the organisers for successfully organising Vivatech in this difficult time.

This platform reflects the technological vision of France. India and France have been working closely on a wide range of subjects. Among these, technology and digital are emerging areas of cooperation. It is the need of the hour that such cooperation continues to grow further. It will not only help our nations but also the world at large.

Many youngsters saw the French Open with great enthusiasm. One of India's tech companies, Infosys provided tech support for the tournament. Likewise, the French Company Atos is involved in a project for making the fastest super computer in India. Whether it is France's Capgemini or India's TCS and Wipro, our IT talent is serving companies and citizens all over the world.

Friends,

I believe - Where convention fails, innovation can help. This has been seen during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which is the biggest disruption of our age. All nations have suffered loss and felt anxiety about the future. COVID-19 put many of our conventional methods to test. However, it was innovation that came to the rescue. By innovation I refer to:

Innovation before the pandemic .

Innovation during the pandemic .

When I speak about innovation before the pandemic, I refer to the pre-existing advances which helped us during the pandemic. Digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console. Through digital media, we could work, talk with our loved ones, and help others. India's universal and unique bio-metric digital identity system - Aadhar - helped us to provide timely financial support to the poor. We could supply free food to 800 million people, and deliver cooking-fuel subsidies to many households. We in India were able to operationalise two public digital education programes- Swayam and Diksha - in quick time to help students.

The second part, innovation for the pandemic refers to how humanity rose to the occasion and made the fight against it more effective. In this, the role of our start-up sector, has been paramount. Let me give you India's example. When the pandemic hit our shores, we had inadequate testing capacities and shortage of masks, PPE, Ventilators and other such equipment. Our private sector played a key role in addressing this shortage. Our doctors adopted tele-medicine in a big way so that some COVID and other non-COVID issues could be addressed virtually. Two vaccines are being made in India and more are in the development or trial stage. On the Government side, our indigenous IT platform, Arogya-Setu enabled effective contact tracing. Our COWIN digital platform has already helped ensure vaccines to millions. Had we not been innovating, then our fight against COVID-19 would have been much weaker. We must not abandon this innovative zeal so that we are even better prepared when the next challenge strikes.

Friends,

India's strides in the world of tech and start-up are well-known. Our nation is home to one of the world's largest start-up eco systems. Several unicorns have come up in the recent years. India offers what innovators and investors need. I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of: Talent, Market, Capital, Eco-system and, Culture of openness.

Indian tech-talent pool is famous across the world. Indian youth have given tech solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. Today, India has One Point One eight billion mobile phones and Seven Seventy-Five million internet users. This is more than the population of several nations. Data consumption in India is among the highest and cheapest in the world. Indians are the largest users of social media. There is a diverse and extensive market that awaits you.

Friends,

This digital expansion is being powered by creating state-of-the-art public digital infrastructure. Five hundred and twenty-three thousand kilometres of fibre optic network already links our One hundred and fifty six thousand village councils. Many more are being connected in the times to come. Public wi-fi networks across the country are coming up. Likewise, India is working actively to nurture a culture of innovation. There are state-of-the-art innovation labs in Seven Thousand Five Hundred schools under the Atal Innovation Mission. Our students are taking part in numerous hackathons, including with students overseas. This gives them the much-needed exposure to global talent and best practices.

Friends,

Over the past year, we have witnessed a lot of disruption in different sectors. Much of it is still there. Yet, disruption does not have to mean despair. Instead, we must keep the focus on the twin foundations of repair and prepare. This time last year, the world was still seeking a vaccine. Today, we have quite a few. Similarly, we have to continue repairing health infrastructure and our economies. We in India, implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic. And, when I say - prepare-I mean: Insulating our planet against the next pandemic. Ensuring we focus on sustainable life-styles that stop ecological degradation. Strengthening cooperation in furthering research as well as innovation.

Friends,

The challenges our planet faces can only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human centric approach. For this, I call upon the start-up community to take the lead. The start-up space is dominated by youngsters. These are people free from the baggage of the past. They are best placed to power global transformation. Our start-ups must explore areas such as: Healthcare. Eco-friendly technology including waste recycling, Agriculture, New age tools of learning.

Friends,

As an open society and economy, as a nation committed to the international system, partnerships matter to India. France and Europe are among our key partners. In my conversations with President Macron, In my summit with EU leaders in Porto in May, digital partnership, from start-ups to quantum computing, emerged as a key priority. History has shown that leadership in new technology drives economic strength, jobs and prosperity. But, our partnerships must also serve a larger purpose, in service of humanity. This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience, but also of our imagination. It is a chance to build a more inclusive, caring and sustainable future for all. Like President Macron, I have faith in the power of science and the possibilities of innovation to help us achieve that future.

Thank you.