How India and Canada Can Grow Together

University of Alberta's President Indira Samarasekara spoke to Asia Society India Centre on strengthening India-Canada ties.

MUMBAI, November 11, 2010 - India and Canada have the foundation to build a super-partnership by working together on the three E's: Energy, Entrepreneurship, and Education.

These thoughts were shared by President of the University of Alberta, Indira Samarasekara, at a program titled Why Canada Now? Partnering with India through Higher Education-Corporate Linkages.

Samarasekara said that India's tremendous energy needs as a growing country could be met in part by resources from Canada. This would also increase commercial dealings between the countries and diversify India's resource procurement pool.

On the entrepreneurship front, Samarasekara said Canadian companies could stand to learn from India's ability to churn out enterprising businessmen to boost low productivity rates. Strengths of Canadian companies in areas such as healthcare and finance could be commercialized by the high entrepreneurship energy in India.

She added that India could use Canadian educational institutions to fill the eight million higher education seats that India currently needs. India also needs to address gender parity issues, and Canada could help significantly in overcoming such social barriers and education deficits.

Samarasekara noted that Canada's future depends on its ties with places like India, and in turn, India's prosperity depends on how it addresses issues like energy requirements and education gaps. Citing University of Alberta's associations with Indian organizations such as IIT Bombay and the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, she concluded that it makes far more sense to combine resources and brainpower across borders to maximize strengths, rather than to run parallel to each other in the hopes that the fastest wins.