In the Indian capital, the last stop on his mission to the subcontinent, Québec Premier Jean Charest took part on February 5 in the plenary session of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), along with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and other high-profile personalities.
The presidents of Slovenia and Kiribati and the prime ministers of Bhutan, Finland, Greece and Norway also attended the event. Premier Charest took part in the DSDS at the invitation of Dr. R.K. Pachauri, co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The 2010 edition of the DSDS is particularly significant, as it is the first major international environmental conference held since the Copenhagen Summit.
According to Premier Charest, “Regions and federated states are important players in rising to the worldwide challenges created by global warming, as they are responsible for 50% to 80% of emission reductions. It is crucial that their role be recognized within international bodies.”
On the sidelines of the DSDS, along with the heads of state in attendance, Jean Charest met with the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Premier Charest took the opportunity to invite Prime Minister Singh to visit Québec and reiterated Québec’s support for discussions concerning a possible free trade agreement between India and Canada.
Ten new agreements were signed by Indian and Québec partners on the second-last day of the mission. Companies initialled contracts in the environment and energy sectors, and educational institutions concluded agreements in the fields of political science, management and science. The Government of Québec signed an agreement with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute concerning exemptions from additional tuition fees for Indian students who study in Québec.
In the words of Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, “At a time when knowledge is becoming the prime resource for economic development, it is important to build close collaboration between our educational institutions and the world’s best universities. The institutions of higher learning that are taking part in this mission have shown their keen interest in developing and strengthening collaboration with Indian partners.”
More information on the agreements – Premier’s press release (in French)
Relations between Québec and India