Uranium deal with India signals new era, Modi tells Harper – by Les Whittington (Toronto Star – April 16, 2015)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Trade, energy, the environment, security, and culture are expected to be among the issues Harper and Modi will discuss during the visit.

OTTAWA—Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his visit to Canada by signing a uranium supply deal with Ottawa he says signals a new era in cooperation between the two nations.

At a joint press conference on Parliament Hill with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Modi said the agreement that will see hundreds of millions of dollars worth of uranium exported to India from Saskatchewan annually “is a mark (of Canada’s) trust and confidence” in his country.

“And this is going to take forward our relations,” Modi told the media, adding that uranium for India’s civilian nuclear program will help his country address global warming through “clean energy” and thus allows India “to give something to the world.”

Harper, who will accompany Modi to Toronto and Vancouver during the Indian leader’s three-day visit, agreed the uranium sales deal will end the lingering tension arising from India’s use of Canadian equipment to develop a nuclear bomb in the 1970s — which Harper said created “an unnecessarily frosty relationship for far too long.”

In an unexpected comment, Harper also said the two leaders agreed to push hard for a quick resolution of Canada-India free-trade talks, which have been bogged down since 2010. Harper, whose efforts to land free-trade deals with Canada’s important trading partners will be a key plank in his campaign leading up to the October election, said the deal with India would be completed by September.

Harper acknowledged that trade between Canada and India remains modest but is on the increase.

Modi, representing India’s first bilateral visit to Canada in 42 years, expressed sympathy for Canadians in relation to the Parliament Hill shooting last fall, and called for international action to confront terrorism, which he called the “enemy of humanity.”

“All those who believe in human values, they have to come together and fight against terrorism,” he said.

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