ICCC's 'India Mission 2024' forges stronger India-Canada ties

As the dawn of 2024 broke, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), with its illustrious delegation, set forth on an odyssey that would mark a new chapter in the annals of international collaboration. The ICCC led by President Muralilal Thapliyal led "India Mission 2024", a 12-day expedition January 29th to February 9th, 2024. The ICCC coursed through Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Chandigarh, and concluded in the serene landscapes of Dehradun, each step of the journey imbued with strategic dialogues, cultural exchanges, and the forging of ties that promised to transcend the conventional boundaries of bilateral cooperation.

As the delegation traversed the diverse terrains of India, from the bustling streets of Delhi to the technological hub of Bengaluru, from the entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarat in Ahmedabad to the verdant vistas of Guwahati, each state revealed its unique potential and readiness to embrace the opportunities that this Indo-Canadian partnership promised to bring. Through high-level engagements, round-table discussions, and community interactions, the mission sought to unlock the treasure trove of possibilities that lay in collaborating across sectors such as technology, agriculture, education, and renewable energy.

Thapliyal stated, "'This year, our mission is focused on enhancing sector-specific trade and business. As the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), one of Canada's most established organisations, we are at the forefront of technological innovation. Our goal is to share our technological expertise with the burgeoning market in India, fostering a mutually beneficial economic relationship."'

In Delhi, the ceremonial gateway to this illustrious journey, the delegation engaged in a series of high-level dialogues with eminent policymakers and industry titans of FICCI, NITI Aayog, and Indian Chamber of Commerce, laying a foundation for a reinvigorated economic partnership. The narrative here should be elevated by emphasising the strategic dialogues and their potential to sculpt a new paradigm in bilateral trade relations, enriched by Thapliyal's vision for sector-specific enhancement through technological prowess.

As the narrative progresses to Bengaluru, accentuate the city's stature as a crucible of innovation, where discussions at the World Trade Center and interactions with the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission underscored the symbiotic potential for technological exchanges. The delegation received a warm welcome at the World Trade Center by Managing Director Vineet Verma. The explorative journey and profound discussions highlighted the iconic status of the WTC and revealed a plethora of opportunities for emerging enterprises.

A visit to the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission, led by CEO Sanjeev Gupta and Siddhartha Anand, VP of Startup and Innovation, presented Bengaluru's exceptional story - a metropolis home to over 200,000 startups and a remarkable $64 billion in venture capital. As the globally acknowledged "GCC Capital," Bengaluru's preeminence in the Indian Startup Ecosystem was a subject of great admiration.

The day was further enhanced by a session hosted by the Jain International Trade Organization's Bangalore North chapter, which delved into the prospects of international trade between Canada and India, illustrating the burgeoning synergy between the two nations.

In Ahmedabad, the mission attained significant momentum through discussions with the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendrabhai Patel. President Murarilal Thapliyal and his delegates commended the Chief Minister's thoughtful governance, which has elevated Gujarat to a pinnacle of investment allure. The dialogues shed light on opportunities in GIFT City and the expanding tourism sector, with ICCC's Vice President and Corporate Secretary Chirag Shah emphasising potential collaborations. The ICCC's cordial invitation to the Chief Minister to its Gala in the summer 2024 epitomizes the flourishing Indo-Canadian friendship.

The delegation's foray into Guwahati introduces a fresh chapter of opportunities in tourism, tea, technology, and real estate, underscored by the Chief Minister's invitation to explore Guwahati's rich potential. Led by Murailal Thapliyal, President, the ICCC delegation engaged with the Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa, discussing investment and trade prospects in Tourism, Tea, Technology (AI and GreenTech), and the real-estate sector in Guwahati. The Chief Minister extended an invitation to the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce members to explore the region's potential and business opportunities, assuring comprehensive support from the Government of Assam. The evening was marked by a reception hosted by the Department of Industries, Commerce and Public Enterprise, inviting various Assamese businesses to interact with the ICCC delegation. Shri Manvendra Singh, IAS, Managing Director of AIDC, briefed the delegates on key sectors for Canadian business exploration and discussed forming a long-standing association with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Government of Assam.

In Chandigarh, a fruitful engagement unfolded between the Foreign Cooperation Department (FCD) of Haryana and the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The discourse primarily navigated through three pivotal realms: outbound investments, inbound investment facilitation, and the enhancement of connections pertaining to overseas placements and education.

The conversation ventured into promoting Haryana's outbound investments to Canada, especially in domains like technology, agriculture, renewable energy, and infrastructure. The dialogue recognised the mutual potential for facilitating investment flows and fortifying bilateral trade relationships.

Efforts to bolster mechanisms for encouraging Canadian investments into Haryana were deliberated. The FCD accentuated the state's appealing business milieu, advanced infrastructure, and skilled labor force as enticing factors for Canadian investors. Strategies to simplify regulatory frameworks and offer incentives for investment were discussed.

The significance of nurturing ties related to overseas placements and educational collaborations between Haryana and Canada was emphasised. The dialogue revolved around advocating exchange programs, skill enhancement initiatives, and academic partnerships to foster cross-cultural comprehension and knowledge exchange.

This assembly between the Foreign Cooperation Department, Haryana, and the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce served as a conclave to explore collaborative ventures across various sectors. Both entities reaffirmed their commitment to advancing bilateral relations and facilitating engagements beneficial to both trade and education sectors.

Punjab's narrative highlights the state's commitment to unlocking investment opportunities in agriculture, food processing, and manufacturing, paving the way for Indo-Canadian partnerships. Invest Punjab orchestrated a dynamic meeting with the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) delegation, facilitated by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Led by the Punjab's Minister for Investment Promotion Anmol Gagan Maan, the discourse revolved around unlocking lucrative investment opportunities in Punjab for Canadian industries. Key industries such as tourism, agriculture, food processing, education, and manufacturing were identified as fertile ground for mutually beneficial collaborations.

Thapliyal quotes "Imagine stepping through a dark forest with just a lantern lighting the way - you can only see a step ahead, but that's all you need. With each move, you get closer to finding your way out. This is exactly how we should go about trade and commerce: focus on the step you're on, and enjoy the thrill of not knowing what's next. Each step is a mini-adventure, guiding us through the unknown, towards our goals"

Concluding the ICCC's India mission 2024, the delegation's journey culminated in Dehradun with a meeting with Saurabh Bahuguna, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Skill Development & Employment, Protocol, and Sugarcane Development, and Subodh Uniyal, Agriculture Minister of Uttarakhand. The discussions revolved around potential areas of collaboration between Uttarakhand and Canada. Bahuguna highlighted the untapped opportunities in Uttarakhand, notably mentioning the state's nascent market for premium fish, contrasting with Singapore's reliance on imports from distant Norway. He announced the establishment of a skill hub in Sahaspur and extended an invitation for collaboration with the ICCC, signifying a step towards fostering a synergistic partnership between Uttarakhand and Canada.


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