State Dinner Hosted by His Excellency, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Honourable President of India (New Delhi, India)
New Delhi, India, Monday, February 24, 2014
I would like to thank you for welcoming my wife, Sharon, and me, as well as the entire Canadian delegation, so warmly to your country. It is wonderful to be here to underscore our strong relationship and our potential to do so much more together.
Although we only recently arrived in your country, already we are stunned by its beauty. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, a majestic place which more than earns its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It speaks directly to the history and the ingenuity of this country’s people, and of the treasures you have given to humanity.
With this visit, I hope to further strengthen the bonds between our two nations, steeped in traditions of parliamentary democracy, pluralism, and strong people-to-people ties.
In fact, Canadians of Indian origin, numbering more than a million, are contributing so much to our success. And I look forward to meeting Canadians and friends of Canada while in this country, to see how we are working together for the benefit of both our nations.
Nearly 16 years ago, my predecessor, the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, was here to conduct the first State visit to India by a governor general of Canada. While here, he remarked how hopeful he was for the future, and how Canada was ready to work with you and to learn from you. Today, I believe that we have done just that.
We are not only increasing our trade and investment, but also sharing knowledge across a variety of fields. I know this not only as governor general but also as a former educator who had the privilege of visiting India on numerous occasions.
I was here three times in the last decade, and served on the Canada-India Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee while president of the University of Waterloo, promoting friendship and partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
With this visit, I hope to discover new ways, across multiple disciplines, our two countries can work together.
During my time in your country, I will be speaking with Canadians and Indians, and meeting with people from different sectors of society. I will be learning more about India’s innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as its education and skills development. Overall, I hope to discover our potential for even more sharing of knowledge.
Already, Canadians and Indians are practising what I like to call the diplomacy of knowledge across disciplines, from exchanging new ideas and techniques to forming partnerships across our higher institutions.
I look forward to continuing our partnership, building on our ties that are now more than 60 years old.
Thank you, once again, for allowing us the chance to discover India in a new light.
I would now like to raise a glass to our continued friendship and to our expanding relationship.