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Thursday, February 26, 2015  

Harper wants ties to have happy ending like in a Bollywood movie
GURGAON Drawing a parallel between Indo-Canadian ties and Bollywood romances, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday said both the countries need to overcome obstacles quickly, as hero and heroine do, for building a stronger relationship.

“I believe there is a kind of a parallel to Canada and India and the typical Bollywood ploy. Two young people meet, they know they are meant for each other, but they have obstacles to over- come,” Harper said at the World Economic Forum on India meeting here.

A self-confessed Bollywood fan, he added: “They do, in fact, overcome those obstacles and the happy ending ensures and they do so before the viewers lose interest.”

Stressing the need for Canada and India to take a cue from such happy endings, Harper said: “It’s a bit like how I see the relationship between Canada and India. We have to work hard to overcome the obstacles and we have to work quickly, if we are to get to the happy ending that we both want. It won’t be easy but can be done. So let’s get it done quickly.”

While the two countries have completed a social security agreement, they are still engaged in extensive negotiations for a free trade pact and investment protection agreement. Pointing out that the reforms taken up by New Delhi are increasingly expanding the country’s economy, Harper said Canada attached great importance to relationship with India, but the two countries are yet to fully exploit the potential.

“The untapped economic potential between us is massive and undeniable. But massive and undeniable as that potential is, it will not develop itself. It will take consorted effort on both of the countries,” said Harper, who also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his India visit.

Although there were reports last week that Harper may not stop at a dhaba (roadside eatery) in Chandigarh over security concerns, officials of that country now say Harper is likely to savour dhaba fare.

There is still no clear indication, however, which dhaba might get to host the visiting Canadian prime minister. Pal Dhaba in Sector 28 was earlier reported to be playing host to the foreign guest. However, security arrangements are also being made at Deluxe Dhaba, down the road from Pal, in the same Sector 28 market which is otherwise famous for its automobile accessories and motor parts shops.

Harper, who arrived in Chandigarh on Wednesday afternoon from New Delhi, is on a day’s visit to Punjab and Chandigarh. He will offer prayers at the Takht Keshgarh Sahib, the second most important Sikh shrine after the Golden Temple, at Anandpur Sahib, 80km from here.

Last week, after information that the Canadian prime minister would stop at a dhaba here was “leaked” to the press, officials had said that the visit has been cancelled over security concerns.

Harper will be staying at the upscale JW Marriot Hotel in Sector 35 here. He is expected to stop for an early dhaba dinner. He is also likely to be entertained by Bhangra dancers during this visit.

While Pal Dhaba is a popular eatery, with seating arrangements along the pavement, Deluxe Dhaba is not quite a real dhaba, owned as it is by one of the city’s leading restaurateurs.

Agencies
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