Canada has announced a new liberal business visa regime for Indian businessmen to catch up with other industrialised nations in boosting trade with India.

The new visa regime was announced by the government here close on the heels of the visit of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to India.

Under the new system, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said applications from Indian citizens for business visas will be cleared within 24 hours. The express visa service offers multiple entry visas to applicants.

Along with the liberal visa regime, Toronto has also announced that a new nuclear cooperation pact and a mutual investment protection agreement was on the fast track. The nuclear agreement will pave the way for supply of enriched uranium for India’s civil nuclear energy needs.

“We’re actively negotiating a nuclear cooperation pact and have an investment protection agreement, and have established one of our most widespread overseas networks in India, with three new trade offices opened by our government since 2006,” Kenney said.

“We have also decided to double the number of Indian students coming to Canada,” the minister said adding that the country is working with India on several initiatives aimed at boosting bilateral trade, currently at a “ridiculously low” level, to around USD 15 billion in next five years.

The minister was speaking at a function last night organised by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce also attended by Indian Consul General to Canada, Preeti Saran.

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