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The Hamilton Spectator
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Tuesday November 17, 2009
There's good reason to celebrate Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first trip to India. His visit this week will cheer 1 million Canadians who have family and friends there. And it signals Ottawa's desire to reboot a relationship that has atrophied in recent years.

Like China, India is a rising political and economic star. But unlike China, it is a fellow democracy and it is a nation that continues to use English for official purposes. It is also blessed with a young and energetic workforce. These are powerful, long-term advantages that India is leveraging to its benefit.

After inexplicably ignoring India for nearly four years while other leaders beat a path to its door, Harper now hopes to explore what Ottawa rightly sees as the "tremendous amount of untapped potential" between two nations with $1 trillion-plus economies that do less than $5 billion in trade a year. That pitiful exchange reflects both Canada's lacklustre outreach and India's own overly protective economy. There's room for improvement on both sides.

"We share a history of cooperation in the Commonwealth and the United Nations, as well as a shared commitment to pluralism, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," Harper said before setting out. "Our goal is to build a stronger, more dynamic partnership."

During meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other officials, the Canadian team hopes to promote trade and investment, energy ties and, more controversially, nuclear cooperation. Continued....

Harper's India overture
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