Indo-Canadian relationships are poised to move to the next level. Relationships received a huge boost following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada—the first by an Indian PM in 43 years. Canada and India are now strategic partners. There is a strong mandate to build on trade and investment linkages. The two nations are negotiating a foreign investment protection agreement (FIPA). Once concluded, this would see increased investments from Canada into India. As it is there are about 600 Canadian companies that are doing business with India, of which 300 have some kind of a physical presence in India, including manufacturing operations and job creation. Once the FIPA is in place, Canadian companies will be encouraged to open up new plants in India and take full advantage of the Make in India campaign. The Indian-origin Canadian High Commissioner to India, Mr Nadir Patel, opened up to India Empire on a range of bilateral issues and shared his thoughts on going forward. He believes these are highly exciting times in Indo-Canadian relationships.
Mr Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana who has thrown his hat into the US presidential race—as per several polls he is lagging way behind—made a controversial statement alienating Indian Americans during one of his campaigns. His words went like this: “… As for me, I am sick and tired of people dividing Americans. And I am done with all this talk about hyphenated Americans. We are not Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, rich Americans, or poor Americans. We are all Americans.” Mr Jindal’s sudden pronouncement came as a surprise to the over three million strong Indian-American community, which gave enthusiastic support to his congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, but now feels alienated with such talk. He must have realized his political incorrectness quickly as within a matter of minutes after his statement went viral, he was hounded relentlessly on twitter. Some tweets went as follows: “Bobby Jindal went to Brown University but it made him extremely uncomfortable.” Another one said, “Bobby Jindal is so white that he calls his parents by their first names.” As Mr Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who is writing a book on him told the Washington Post: “There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal.”
While one Indian-origin Governor was being pilloried in the media, South Carolina’s Indian-American Governor Nikki Haley was earning encomiums. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the American Civil War, Ms Haley finally added her powerful voice to growing demands for removing the rebel Confederate flag from the State Capitol. Public pressure to remove the red flag with a blue diagonal cross with white stars representing secessionist states breaking away from the American Union over the issue of slavery peaked after the horrific massacre in a historic black Church in Charleston in June. “Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state without ill-will to say it is time to remove the flag from our capitol grounds,” said Ms Haley, daughter of Sikh immigrant parents from India and the state’s first non-white governor.
There is plenty else to mentally navigate through in this issue of India Empire.
Hope you have a happy read.