The Voice of Chandigarh News | Photos By T S Bedi

Canadian Leader of Official Opposition  Andrew Scheer  called on and visited Senior Congress Leaser and Punjab Congress Vice-President Kewal Singh Dhillon at his residence, along with Tim Uppal (MP), Bob Saroya (MP) and his key political aides such as Vikram Khurana, Shuvaloy Majumdar, Arpan Khanna and Shiv Raj, to explore the opportunities of trade and investment to bring economic prosperity in Punjab. The core agenda of the discussion was bringing investment and creating jobs in Punjab particularly for the unemployed youth through Canadian investment and also recognition for the large Punjabi diaspora settled in Canada.

After the departure of Steven Harper as Prime Minister for almost 10 years, Andrew got a landslide victory in the conservative party of Canada as a leader. Andrew Scheer is considered the toughest opponent to incumbent PM Justin Trudeau for 2019 General Elections in Canada. Andrew Scheer on his one-day visit to Punjab started his day by visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which was followed by a meeting with the Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh. Andrew Scheer concluded his visit by holding a business meet and dinner organized by Senior Congress LeaderKewal Singh Dhillon.

India especially the province of Punjab and Canada share a great history together. Dhillon’s ancestors too took a 110 year old journey to Canada with his great-grandfather S. Sohan Singh Dhillon being one of the first immigrants to Canada who died in Vancouver in 1908 much before the famous Komagata Maru voyage. Similar to the strong and influential Punjabi community in Canada who influence key areas such as Business and Politics,  Dhillon’s family too has some key business & political leaders such as Bob Dhillon, Nina Dhillon Grewal (M.P.) who are all excelling in their respective fields.

Dhillon feels the trade ties between the two countries have not been developed to the full potential and as such a lot can be done in this direction.  This meeting primarily focused on exploring the possibilities of increasing trade and investment opportunities in Punjab.

As per a report, published by the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Canada is home to more than 1.2 million people of Indian origin (PIO) which is more than 3% of their population. The people of Indian origin are one of the largest immigrant groups in Canada, out of which most of them comes from Punjab.

The Diaspora is well educated, financially sound and active in the national and international politics of the country. Despite having such a strong bond, the two countries are not receiving each other’s 1% share in total imports. Since 2010, India has had extensive engagement with Canadian government to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) namely the Canada India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The 10th stage negotiations of bilateral committee happened before Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visit to India in Feb 2018, but committee failed to sign the agreement between the countries.

Kewal Singh Dhillon Senior VP, PPCC shares great experience in the field of doing business and promoting Punjab on the international map. Besides, he has pioneered great businesses to invest in Punjab, such as being responsible for PepsiCo’s entry into India and setting up their concentrate plant in Punjab. Kewal Singh Dhillon has a vision of starting new trade ties between Punjab and Canada even before having any free trade agreement between the two countries.

Kewal Singh Dhillon can play a very crucial role for Punjab in numerous ways. First, he shares strong and sound relationship with business lobbies and politicians in Canada. Second, his prior experience as a successful businessperson makes it evident that he has better understanding about trade & industry. Most importantly, when it comes to investment, Punjab tops his priority list. Far-sightedness, strong will power and commitment towards the betterment of Punjab are some aspects of Dhillon’s personality of which all those staying in Punjab are quite familiar.

The Canadian businessperson and policy makers are looking positively towards this initiative.  If adequate attention is given as to how the two countries can explore greater trade and investment in Punjab then this will not only increase the revenue of the state but most importantly, it will also generate employment opportunities for the youth in Punjab.

As CM Captain Amarinder Singh stated in his statement on HT Leadership Summit 2018 that Punjab needs business tie-ups to grow, meetings of such kind can be the foundation for a way ahead.

Thus, this initiative taken at the behest of Kewal Singh Dhillon certainly deserves a round of applause.

Kewal Singh Dhillon is a renowned Industrialist cum politician from Congress Party, He holds the Post of Senior Vice President with PPCC.

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