Group photo with High Commissioner Vikas Swarup is seen seated (5th from left), 6th from left is Indian Consul-General Dinesh Bhatia and ICCC President Arun Srivastava is 4th from left.
Group photo with High Commissioner Vikas Swarup is seen seated (5th from left), 6th from left is Indian Consul-General Dinesh Bhatia and ICCC President Arun Srivastava is 4th from left.
No Indian envoy posted to any country is deemed as fortunate as India’s new High Commissioner to Canada, Vikas Swarup, as India’s base in Canada is unbelievably strong with 19 Indo-Canadian MPs, including four senior federal ministers.
 
 

At his first community reception organized by Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), in collaboration with the Indian Consulate, held at downtown Toronto Novotel Hotel March 27, Swarup was pleased over his first interaction with any community organization and also over his first visit to Toronto. He actually landed in Canada during the last week of February and so it’s barely one month since he took his assignment in Canada.

 

He, of course visited Canada exactly two years back – in April 2015 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was on his first official visit to Canada. He laughingly shared with over 150 invited guests – most of them office bearers of ICCC, some businessmen and professionals and community leaders – that a day after they returned to Delhi, he was designated as the official spokesman in the Ministry of External Affairs and it is from there that he was named High Commissioner to Canada. Swarup seems lucky as he has a few years before reaches his retirement age, as most of his predecessors posted to Ottawa came when they were reaching their retirement age.

 

Swarup’s emphasis was on his Canada-India ties in all conceivable fields. During the last six months dozens of Canadian ministers have travelled to India and similarly from India to Canada. “In fact as I speak, Canada’s (Indo-Canadian) Minister for Small Industries and Tourism) Bardish Chaggar is in India and very soon Canada’s Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan will travel to India," Swarup said. 

“This is my first visit to Toronto, and the first Indo-Canadian organization with which I am interacting as high commissioner. ICCC is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It is an organization that was launched by a handful of enthusiasts and it has now grown into a large and vibrant forum, helping augment economic ties between Canada and India, and creating business opportunities between the two countries, and so thank you for arranging this reception,” he said.

“There’s something special about Canada. In an uncertain inward looking world, Canada stands as a beacon of tolerance, welcoming all cultures, welcoming all religions, and that is why the partnership between Canada and India is truly remarkable because, like Canada, India is also a model for how to manage diversity,” Swarup stated. “There’s so much in common between the two countries, both are democracies and pluralist societies. Our citizens enjoy basic rights and liberties, diverse cultures, languages, both have strong economies, both are members of the Commonwealth.”

Canada and India “have an ambitious agenda, part of Canada-India cooperation in urban transportation, education, agriculture, science and technology, security and closer coordination in regional and global matters,” Swarup explained. .

 

“Today the fruits of that partnership is there, Canada has become our #-1 supplier of potash, our researchers are working together in chemical research. We are working together to prevent cyber attacks… Indian students are flocking here in large numbers, studying at the University of Toronto and other Canadian universities and colleges,” Swarup said adding that it is good that Air Canada is now flying to Delhi and Mumbai and India is now issuing a 10-year visa.

There’s an enormous scope for the Canadian companies to invest in India and likewise there’s ample potential for the Indian companies to invest in Canada.

 

Arun Srivastava, President of ICCC,said while welcoming the High Commissioner on behalf of his board of directors and members. He talked about his 30-year service as India’s diplomat and official at the Ministry of External Affairs who has had postings to a number of countries during the last 30 years since he joined India’s foreign service.

 

He laid emphasis on Swarup is being a higly acclaimed fiction writer and once of his fiction turned into a full-length academy award winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire.” Some of his books have been translated into several international languages.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of ICCC. To mark this occasion, ICCC will be organizing a major business symposium which will be attended by a business delegation from India.

 

(Ajit Jain can be contacted at ajit.jain0410@gmail.com)

 

Indian High Commissioner Vikas Swarup is seen speaking at the reception jointly organized by Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Indian Consulate

Indian High Commissioner Vikas Swarup is seen speaking at the reception jointly organized by Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Indian Consulate
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