Chandra Arya, MP for Nepean, has been elected as Chair of the new Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group (CIPFG). It was a historic night, marking the re-birth of the group, which saw its membership grow to a record 80+ members.
Kannada-speaking Bangalore native Arya said: “It is a privilege and an honour to head this very important parliamentary group given the vast scope of opportunity for trade and cooperation between two great democracies. I look forward to building this group into a strong voice on all issues related to Canada and India relations.”
Also joining the executive committee are Vice-Presidents Salma Zahid, Ruby Sahota, Bob Saroya, Senator Pana Merchant and Senator Daniel Lang; Secretary-Treasurer Sonia Sidhu, and Directors Amarjeet Sohi, Anju Dhillon, Deb Schulte, Kamal Khera, Shaun Chen, Terry Duguid, Randeep Sarai, Ramesh Sangha, David McGuinty, Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Senator Reynal Andreychuck.
After the election of the executives, High Commissioner of India to Canada Vishnu Prakash met the group. He stated, “I am delighted at the overwhelming support for even closer India-Canada ties among the distinguished parliamentarians, which reflect the dynamism, depth and potential of our bilateral relationship.”
The primary objective of CIPFG is improving the socio-economic and political relations between Canada and India. Short term goals include elevating the status of the group to an inter-parliamentary association and facilitating the completion of the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
Canadian trade with India was valued at over $8 billion in 2015. Top exports from Canada to India include agricultural and chemical products. Top imports to Canada from India include textiles and electronics.
Arya said: “This is an opportunity to forge greater relations with an important cultural and economic partner. As Chair, I look forward to leading this effort to build a stronger partnership between India and Canada.”