Canada, a leading oil producer, has been grappling with falling crude prices and reduced investment in energy sector and it is the right time for Indian companies to go for joint ventures there in a major way, says Canada-India Foundation (CIF).
CIF chief Ajit Someshwar also favours deeper cooperation between the two countries in the education sector saying Canada is keen to attract the increasing number of Indian students seeking quality education as its working population is aging fast and it needs “brand new work force”.
On enhancing cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector, he says there are huge opportunities for India’s private as well as public sector companies.
“Canada is a energy surplus country. Energy prices are extremely low now and it is hurting Canada.
“This is the right time for India’s public sector and private sector companies to invest in oil sector in Canada. We can also collaborate in the nuclear energy sphere,” he says.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Canada in April last year during which both sides had agreed to expand ties in the energy sector. Canada had also agreed for long-term supply of uranium to India.
The head of CIF, which was set up in 2007 to promote Canada-India relations, says the two countries must seize the untapped opportunities in the knowledge economy sector, adding Canada has the capacity to attract much more Indian students than the current annual inflow of 30,000-40,000.
He says while the number of Indian students going to the US has “hit a plateau”, Canada was eager to see more students coming to it.
“An Indian student might decide to stay back after study. He or she may no want to come back home. This is exactly what Canada wants. Canada is a country of declining working population.
“15 per cent per cent of Canada’s working population will be of retirement age in the next 10 years. What Canada is looking for is a brand new work force that keeps the economy rolling,” says Someshwar.
Canada is home to over 1.2 million Indian-origin people who comprise more than 3 per cent of the country’s population.
The highly educated, affluent and industrious Indo-Canadian community, one the largest immigrant groups in Canada, is well integrated with the mainstream and serves as a strong bridge between the two nations.
Someshwar says getting work permit in Canada is easy and to woo Indian students, government has already ensured easing ofthe process for issuance of visa.
“Canadian government allows the students to stay for a limited period of time after their study is over and during that period if they get certification from the employer that he or she was required to stay then they are issued work permit.
“If you look at that Canada is probably the best place for Indian students to go and for Canada, qualified Indian students coming andultimately residing in Canada or bringing a young family to Canada, it will be win-win for both sides,” he says.
Contribution of Indian people in Canada’s overall development is well appreciated, he asserts, adding “that is why wehave 18 Indian-origin representatives in the Parliament”.
(With Agency Inputs)