"It is extremely unfortunate that in many places in the world girls are married before they turn 18. There are 700 million girls alive today who are married before that age, because of which they have to give up their potential,” Baird said while speaking to the students of Delhi Public School at RK Puram in south Delhi

"In India, we have two strong role models like Sania Mirza and Mary Kom who have excelled in their sport given the right opportunity so every girl has the potential to achieve in their chosen field of activity," he added.

Highlighting Canada's commitment to combat early forced child marriage, the minister said it would promote the cause to every corner of the world and called on for India's participation on the same.

He also invited students to study in Canada so that ties between two countries can further strengthen and improve.

At the beginning of his hour-long visit, Baird was welcomed by the students waving hand-made flags of Canada.

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