“It was 66 years ago today that India achieved independence. Every year since that day, the fifteenth of August is celebrated across India and throughout the Indian diaspora with ceremonies and festivities.
“Today is a day of great significance for Indian citizens and for people of Indian heritage around the world. It is an opportunity to mark a significant event in modern history – the birth of the world’s largest democracy.
“I have had the privilege of travelling to India many times, including earlier this year to Kerala to participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebrations with a number of prominent Indo-Canadians, business and political leaders, where I became the first individual of non-Indian heritage to address that important gathering of India’s overseas diaspora.
“At Vibrant Gujarat in Ahmedabad, I was especially pleased to see the keen and growing interest on the part of Canadian businesses in India, and Indian business in Canada has increased significantly.
“Our government remains committed to further growing our economic and cultural ties with India, which is both young and vibrant in its independence, yet ancient in culture.
“Moreover, India continues to be one of Canada’s top source countries for immigrants. Last year, Canada welcomed a record number of immigrants, visitors, and students from India with 28,889 permanent residents, 130,000 visitors, and 13,000 study permits issued.
“Canadians of Indian heritage have played an important role in shaping the prosperous and pluralistic Canada we know today, all the while maintaining their culture, heritage, and traditions. Over 750,000 Canadians can trace their ancestry to India. They continue to make invaluable contributions to building Canada in communities all across our country.
“I extend my warmest greetings to all of those in Canada, in India, and around the world, who are today celebrating India’s Independence Day.”