Canadian PM to host Manmohan Singh after G-20 summit

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday he will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the end of the G-20 summit here June 27. Singh, the first Indian prime minister to visit Canada in more than a decade, will be the only foreign head of government Harper will host after the summit.

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In an acknowledgement of India’s growing importance as a strategic and business partner, Harper, who visited India last November, will also host a dinner in honour of Manmohan Singh and his delegation.

In a statement, Harper said he “will welcome Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, for a bilateral visit on June 27, 2010, immediately following the G-20 Summit.”

Harper said, “Canada and India are developing the tremendous potential of our relationship by rapidly expanding commercial, cultural and educational ties.

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Singh to further capitalize on our shared strengths.”

During their meeting, they ‘will also discuss regional and global issues of shared interest,’ Harper said.

“Bilateral trade and the proposed nuclear deal and other issues will be discussed by the two prime ministers,” Indian High Commissioner Shashshekhar Gavai told IANS.

“There is a possibility that the two prime ministers may ink some agreements,” informed sources told IANS.

During their talks, Mnamohan Singh is likely to raise his concern about the rising activities of pro-Khalistan elements in Canada.

The issue of visa denial to Indian security personnel may also figure in the talks, according to the sources.

Singh is the first Indian prime minister to visit Canada in about one and a half decades even though three Canadian prime ministers have visited India during this period.

Inder Kumar Gujral was the last Indian prime minister to visit this country.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])