From immigration, pluralism to trade, Trudeau touches all on Gujarat visit
Ahmedabad: Dressed in traditional Indian attire, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife and three children landed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's homestate Gujarat on Monday.
The visiting Prime Minister and his family, here on a day-long visit, were received at the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport here by Gujarat Minister Ganpat Vasava and State Chief Secretary.
The first engagement of the Trudeau family was a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram. After paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the Canadian Prime Minister tried his hand at the spinning wheel.
He proceeded to the Akshardham Temple in state capital Gandhinagar and spent about 40 minutes there.
He visited the premier B-school Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and had a lively detailled session with the students.
Trudeau said Canada was open to immigration and trade.
On trade front, the Prime Minister said that current bilateral trade of $8 billion in goods and $2 billion in services had a potential to grow.
"When you think of natural connections between India and Canada, especially in field of agriculture or pulses, where we have slight challenges. We are discussing potential of growth in pulses."
Referring to the issue of immigration, especially in context of most of the countries globally looking inwards and raising barriers, Trudeau said that he and Canada firmly believed that the new reality for 21st century is going to be heterogeneous societies.
"India has done fairly well and Canada too has done fairly well to see that differences can become source of strength and not weakness... As you get more pluralistic, language, religion, ethnicity, ideology should be anchored in shared values that society subscribes to."
Trudeau went on to say that dividing society on the basis of ethnicity and religious lines was a "tribal" approach to civilisation that has over thousands of years ripped apart these beliefs.
The Canadian Prime Minister also had a word for the media and addressed that "Independent media is essential for a successful democracy."
Trudeau again summoned the name of Mahatma Gandhi to be his inspiration. "He should be an inspiration to all. Idea of extraordinary strength in compassion, peace and non-violence...
"It takes tremendous amount of strength to be strong, without having to be aggressive, without having to pick fights, instead looking to better understand each other, to better question yourself."