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From bilateral trade to immigration, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau talked about the growth potential of the Indo-Canadian partnership here on Monday in a town hall at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
Speaking at IIM-A, Trudeau stated that while the Indo-Canadian bilateral trade stood at $8 billion in goods and $2 billion in services, it had the potential to grow, especially in agriculture.
"When you think of natural connections between India and Canada, especially in the field of agriculture or pulses, where we have slight challenges. We are discussing the potential of growth in pulses," he said, who is on a week-long visit to India.
Following a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, where he paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Trudeau spent around 40 minutes at IIM-A for the town hall, where he invoked Gandhi by talking about peace and non-violence. "It takes a tremendous amount of strength to be strong, without having to be aggressive, without having to pick fights, instead of looking to better understand each other, to better question yourself," Trudeau said.
Talking about immigration, Trudeau stated that in the current scenario both the countries believed the society was moving towards increased heterogeneity. "As you get more pluralistic, language, religion, ethnicity, ideology should be anchored in shared values, that society subscribes to," he said on reducing barriers between the two countries.
Commenting on dividing society on the basis of ethnicity and religious lines, Trudeau said the move was a "tribal" approach to civilisation. "There are two paths, you can either amplify the anxiety in the world by blaming a particular ethnic or religious group for all the troubles in the society or you can take a more successful pluralistic approach, when you actually meet people with different story and believe that we meet them and grow," he added.
In the wake of challenges in the media, Trudeau said that while the current times were "frustrating", it was also important for the media to be supported. "Independent media is essential for successful democracy," he said.
Terming the growing cynicism in the society as the "biggest challenge", Trudeau said that it was harder to not be cynical in the current times.
Addressing the students from several institutes present for the town hall at IIM-A, Trudeau said, "When people start thinking less of the institutions of their society, of their neighbours.
It is easy and lazy to be cynical. It is harder to strive for the best, earnestness... This trend is worrisome and extremely tempting.