Premier McGuinty To Indian Government Leaders: Let's Work Together
Premier Meets India's Ministers of Finance, Science and Technology in India's Capital
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has told top Indian government officials that Ontario is ready, willing and well equipped to help this emerging economic giant tackle the challenges posed by rapid growth.
"We're here because we believe we can build a stronger Ontario -- and a stronger India -- if we work and dream and build together," said Premier McGuinty.
"Our message to senior officials here is that Ontario has the expertise to help India's infrastructure, education and other services keep pace with the tremendous expansion of its economy."
The Premier met with Palaniappan Chidambaram, India's Minister of Finance, and Kapil Sibal, the Minister of Science and Technology. He also had discussions with Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the deputy chair of India's National Planning Commission, and Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs.
India's economy has posted an impressive average growth rate of 6.8 per cent since 1994 following economic reforms and liberalizations. That growth is prompting India to make major investments in everything from education to energy to roads, subways and planes.
In an interview today with Lok Sabha Television -- which features public affairs and politics in India -- McGuinty said Ontario has what India needs.
"Our people are well educated, highly skilled and tremendously experienced in providing the modern infrastructure and other services this country requires to sustain growth and ensure it helps more and more of its people," the Premier said.
McGuinty is also stressing the benefits of investing in Ontario to Indian CEOs and investors. Two-way trade between Ontario and India was more than $1 billion in 2005. Ontario's exports to India have increased by approximately 40 per cent since 2004.
McGuinty is leading a business mission of more than 100 representatives of Ontario businesses, universities, cultural groups and other organizations.
The mission is focused on areas that provide the greatest opportunities for partnership: infrastructure, life sciences, information and communications technology, financial services, education and cultural industry sectors.
"Ontario recognizes India for what it is -- an economic power," said Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.
"The potential for investing in each other and cementing trade relationships is huge," added Harinder Takhar, Ontario's Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
It's estimated India will need $170 billion worth of infrastructure in the next five years alone. It will double investment in the science and technology sectors to over $9 billion in the coming decade, and through its research activity, has already attracted more than 150 multinationals. Currently, there are more than nine million students enrolled in higher education in India and that number continues to grow.
Next stop for the mission to India is Bangalore, home to many of India's leading information and communications companies.
The India mission concludes on January 22 and will be followed by a four-day mission to Pakistan.