VANCOUVER — Winding up his visit to Canada, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it was a historic trip that will herald a new era of cooperation between the two countries as he promised an early conclusion of a free trade agreement and a bilateral investment protection pact.
"The importance of a visit is not measured by length but by the objectives...this was a historic visit, not because that an Indian Prime Minister is visiting here after 42 years but because after 42 years, the clouds of distance have gone away in a moment," Modi said at a reception hosted in his honour by his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.
I leave Canada with immense satisfaction. This visit will further enhance India-Canada ties. A big thanks to the people of Canada.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 17, 2015
He said he considers this visit successful also because it helped bring back on track the ties which had strayed away.
"The wall will now be converted into a bridge," Modi said.
"India and Canada will be together in thoughts, will move together and work together," Modi said.
"We made progress in....BIPPA (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement) and CECA (Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement) will be concluded soon. I am confident," said Modi who held wide-ranging talks with Harper on Wednesday during his three-day visit to this country.
Modi also talked about the immense cooperation possibilities between India and Canada.
Stressing that if Canada participates India's development it will benefit, Modi said it will also have the satisfaction of contributing to development of one-sixth of humanity.
During his address, Modi also recalled Swami Swami Vivekananda's Canada visit. He also praised the Indian community for their contribution.
Harper also praised the Indian community's contribution to Canada.
Harper said, "Canada will stand by India" and "there is a lot to be done".
"It can be achieved because of (the) vision of Modi," he added.
In his address, Harper also recalled Swami Vivekananda's Canada visit, saying, "Vancouver was also a port of arrival for me and your idol Swami Vivekananda. He arrived here in 1893 on his way to the parliament of world's religions in Chicago."
"There he first introduced Hinduism and Yoga to North America. Since then Canadians and Indians have helped to build a vibrant economy and a dynamic society here in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. Hundreds of thousands of Indian immigrants have also made a lasting contribution to Canada's prosperity and cultural diversity," the Canadian Premier said.
Prime Minister Modi said it had been a "memorable" trip for him due to the warm welcome, affection, hospitality and honour that he received.
"I thank premier (British Columbia) Christine Clark. She has had a long association with India. She has also came to India. We had very good discussions earlier today and my belief is that India and British Columbia relations will get deeper," he said.
Modi highlighted that there were many issues on which progress had been made during his visit.
"Barriers have turned into bridges and I am confident that even the bilateral investment, promotion and protection agreement and the comprehensive economic partnership agreement will happen soon," he said.
"Capabilities and opportunities are coming together and we have resolved to work together," he said.