By Amitabh Saxena
Back in his riding of Brampton Centre after a short and eventful visit to India as part of the official delegation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, M.P. Ramesh Sangha spoke to THE WEEKLY VOICE about his India trip and more. Excerpts:
Voice: Can you tell us about your visit to India in February 2018?
RS: Happy to say that I was able to accompany the PM to all the major engagements he attended in India except for the visit to Jama Masjid in Delhi. In a nutshell, I would say that this trip of the Canadian delegation was highly fruitful with a success rate of over 85%.
According to me, the major take away from this trip was that PM Trudeau was able to build cultural and people-to-people bridges in addition to strengthening the traditionally strong economic and political ties between Canada and India.
Our Prime Minister firmly believes in engaging personally whether it’s with a culture or with people and thus the visits to Akshardham temple, Gandhi Ashram, Golden Temple, Taj Mahal and many more places. Incidentally, the entire Trudeau family was happy to perform Seva at the Golden Temple.
Voice: Can you shed some light on some of the MoUs that were signed during the PM’s trip?
RS: I can’t comment on the specific deals but what I can say is that the PM had back to back meetings with the head honchos of the top business houses of India. There is no doubt in my mind that India which is already one of the biggest economic powerhouse of the world and Canada which is one of the most credible business destinations have taken huge steps during this visit to establish even closer economic ties.
Voice: Your thoughts on the future of India-Canada ties?
RS: FANTASTIC! I know for a fact that Indian businesses and entrepreneurs like to do business with Canada because of our honest and credible business environment.Under the expert guidance of PM Trudeau, Canada has taken concrete steps to eliminate any roadblocks and facilitate the ease of doing business. Indian businesses recognize that Canada is a country rich in natural as well as human resources and want to set up shop here.
Conversely, Indian PM Narendra Modi has taken huge steps to eliminate the bureaucratic red tape in India which will encourage Canadian businesses to enter India. This whole exchange of economic and intellectual wealth between our countries will lead to overall prosperity of the middle classes.
Voice: Going forward, what of economic ties would you like Canada and India to share?
RS: I am currently the chair of Canada-India Parliamentary Group and have been to India many times. It’s my understanding that a lot has already been achieved in the last two and a half years since PM Trudeau took charge of our country. I also feel that a lot more can be achieved by constant interactions and exchanges between our two great countries. A while back I had met Mrs. Sushma Swaraj in India, and she assured me about Indian Government’s intention to maintain and strengthen all kinds of ties between the two countries. I remain highly confident that our economic ties will keep getting stronger and stronger.
Voice: Your views on the recent controversies surrounding the alleged separatists of Indian origin at the federal and provincial levels in Canada?
RS: Well, this is nothing new and has been going on for a while now. The Indian government regularly takes up the issue with the Canadian govt on this matter. Speaking as a Sikh, I can say with total conviction that an average Sikh is neither a separatist nor a fundamentalist. Sikhs are peace-loving people and history bears witness to the fact that our Community is spread across the world and wherever there is a Sikh family there is prosperity because of their sheer hard work and willingness to live in harmony with all. Whatever differences exist between India and some members of the Sikh Community in Canada are carryovers from 1980’s and they can only be resolved by meeting and having regular open discussions with an open mind. Both our countries need to work towards this goal.That is my belief.
Voice: Lastly, your message to the Community especially your constituents?
RS: As an MP of Brampton Centre, I have an open house and I am available to meet with you and try to solve any problem/issue you may be facing. Don’t hesitate and visit me at your convenience. My constituency office is located at; 100 Kennedy Road S (Main Office) Brampton, Ontario, L6W 3E7; My office hours are: Monday – Friday: 10AM – 5PM; Saturday: By Appointment