The economic mission to India led by Premier Jean Charest from February 1 to 6 generated a total of 33 agreements and announcements.
Premier Charest toured the Delhi Metro system and admired its Bombardier-built subway cars along with Minister Clément Gignac and representatives of Bombardier and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Photo: Clément Allard
According to the Premier, “These agreements include the creation of joint ventures, sales contracts, and academic collaboration and exchange agreements between educational institutions. But beyond signatures and announcements, the numerous participants launched discussions and paved the way to relations that will reveal their full potential over the coming months and years. There is no doubt in my mind that this mission will generate major spin-offs for Québec.”
Premier Charest was accompanied by Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, and Clément Gignac, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade. In Mumbai, India’s economic hub, Bangalore, the subcontinent’s “Silicon Valley,” and Delhi, the political capital, the 130 Québec participants in the mission were given a warm welcome and discussed business opportunities with their Indian counterparts.
Over 400 meetings between Indian and Québec partners were an opportunity for the Québec business and research sector participants to highlight Québec’s areas of excellence, which correspond to major Indian needs. Premier Charest and ministers Arcand and Gignac stressed Québec’s comparative advantages and know-how in discussions with stakeholders such as the Maharashtra Economic Development Council, the Indian Merchant Chamber and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Industry and Commerce. They also met with various Indian industrial groups seen as potential investors in Québec.
Education and research
The Québec delegation included a large number of representatives of the higher-education and research sector, who promoted Québec’s expertise and possibilities for collaboration between India and Québec. They took part in about 100 meetings at 45 Indian advanced education institutions.
Premier Charest met with the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. He took the opportunity to invite Prime Minister Singh to visit Québec and reiterated Québec’s support for discussions concerning a potential free trade agreement between India and Canada. He also met with seven Indian federal government ministers, including External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. In addition, Premier Charest and ministers Arcand and Gignac met with the Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Kateekal Sankaranarayanan, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Governor of Karnataka, Hansraj Bhardwaj, and various ministers from these two Indian states.
Acknowledgement of Québec’s environmental leadership
At the invitation of Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Premier Charest took part in the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), along with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the presidents of Slovenia and Kiribati, and the prime ministers of Bhutan, Finland, Greece and Norway. The DSDS was the first major international conference on the environment since Copenhagen. Premier Charest reiterated the importance of recognizing the role of federated states, which are responsible for 50 to 80% of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He also met with the Director of the Columbia University Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs, who praised Québec for its leadership in this area, as well as France’s Minister of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Seas, Jean-Louis Boorlo.
New government office in Mumbai
The agenda for the Premier’s second mission to India also included the official opening of the new Québec government office in Mumbai, which gives Québec a permanent foothold in the country.
Results and summary of agreements – Premier’s press release (in French)
Relations between Québec and India
Québec government office in Mumbai