Toronto: In a bid to boost Indo-Canada trade relations, Toronto has announced a new visa regime that will allow Indians 10 years multiple entry visa to the country.

The announcement was made by Canadian Minister of International Trade Edward Fast at a meeting with delegates of the Indian government and business community at the two-day mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Canada 2011 convention that began here on Friday.

New visa process would be available to Indians who travel to Canada frequently, Fast said.

"After an initial visa screening, applicants can get a visa that allow them to visit Canada often – as long as their passports are valid up to ten years," he added.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur who is leading the Indian delegation said both countries were committed to strengthen their bilateral trade relations.

"The Indo-Canadian community is a microcosm of the people of Indian origin living abroad," she said.

"India and Canada will soon sign the Social Security Agreement, conclude a bilateral Investment Protection Agreement, negotiate a revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and complete an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement," she said, adding both nations aim at a bilateral trade target of USD 15 billion in next five years.

Both countries were in talks for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that would yield significant economic benefit and lower tariff on a large number of products for both the countries.

"A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is an free trade agreement (FTA) from Indian perspective. It is aimed at promoting market opening policies and stands to become one of the most important building blocks in constructing a broader and deeper bilateral relationship," Kaur said.

Enable meeting standing demands

S M Gavai, the High Commissioner of India, said the new 10-year multiple entry visa would help to meet the long standing demand of Indians businesses and others who would like to come Canada frequently.

"2011 is a special year for India-Canada relations. It was in November 2009 in New Delhi that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that 2011 would be celebrated as Year of India in Canada," Gavai said.

"Ties between India and Canada have never been so close, so extensive and potentially so exciting as they are today. The Indo-Canadian community has played a major role in enriching this relationship, in building bridges between the two countries," Gavai added.

(Agencies)