By Nouman Khalil
MISSISSAUGA — Joined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, cabinet minsters and leaders of the community Tuesday evening, the local Indian community marked that country’s 68th Independence Day.
Celebrations started at the beginning of August in cities across the GTA, including Brampton and Mississauga, as India turns 67 years this Friday (Aug. 15).
“Namaste! Special greetings to all guests from all levels of government who are here with us tonight,” said Harper. “In fact, there are today more men and women who were born in India serving in Canada’s parliament than at any other time in our country’s history.”
Lead by Senator Asha Seth and Brampton-Springdale MP Parm Gill, the Indian Independence Day gala was hosted by the Canada-India Friendship Group, a local community organization, at Pearson Convention Centre in Mississauga. A large number of community members attended the event.
This was the second annual Indian Independence Day gala put together by Canada-India Friendship.
“I know tonight we’re a couple of days early but I would like to personally wish each of you, I would like to in fact wish all Indo-Canadians, a very happy India Independence Day,” said Harper.
On behalf of Canadians and the Government of Canada, Harper also extended greetings to Indian Prime Minister Narinder Modi and his countrymen as they mark 67 years of independence.
Every year, Indians across the globe celebrate Independence Day on Aug. 15 to commemorate the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.
Harper said the Conservative government has worked hard to revitalize and strengthen Canada-India relations.
The prime minister said the government concluded a Social Security Agreement, an historic Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, and launched bilateral Canada-India free trade negotiations.
He said Ottawa will continue to work to break down barriers that hinder bilateral trade and investment, and that senior members of his government will continue to visit India.
India high commissioner Akhilesh Mishra thanked Harper and the Canadian government for their support, and voiced appreciation for the efforts and hard work of Indians in the progress Canada.
“I take this opportunity to convey my deep appreciation to the Canadian people for the generous hospitality and support to us. We feel truly inspired by the functioning of Canada’s vibrant, pluralistic multi-cultural democratic society. It’s spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity and technological innovations,” said Mishra.
With its fast growing economy, Mishra said India offers a large pool of trained manpower in a wide range of industrial and professional skills.
By Nouman Khalil