Toronto: Five Indian ministers will welcome the Indian Diaspora to the mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, (PBD) here next week. Indian Diaspora members in Canada, USA, Mexico and the Caribbean countries are expected to attend the PBD ¬Canada 2011 convention commencing from June 9.

Vayalar Ravi, Oversees Indian affairs minister; Preneet Kaur, minister of state for external affairs; Ashwani Kumar, minister of state for planning and science and technology; Sachin Pilot, minister of state for communications; Jitin Prasada, minister of state for road  transport; Sam Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister; and Arun Maira, member of the Planning Commission, are the top Indian dignitaries attending the the biggest conclave in Canada of the Indian-origin people settled in North America and the Caribbean.

The mini PBD theme is Building Bridges: Positioning Strategy of the Indian Diaspora. 2011 has been designated as The Year of India in Canada.

“We are also expecting participation by the provincial governments and from Canadian mainstream organisations,” official sources said here on Tuesday.

The biggest conclave in Canada of the Indian-origin people in North America and the Caribbean is expected to attract more 1,500 delegates, the sources said, adding that the PBD would serve as a platform to the diaspora to connect with India and participate in its growth.

A number of positive developments point to an upward trajectory in this bilateral relationship.

A sustained engagement of Canada with India is evident from the number of agreements and MOUs already signed between two countries such as: a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, an MOU on higher education, an MOU on earth sciences and mining, and an MOU on cultural cooperation.

So far, four such Regional PBDs have been held in New York, (2007), Singapore, (2008), The Hague, (2009) and Durban (2010).

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas "offers unparalleled opportunities for networking, advancing  linkages across multiple sectors - business, innovation, healthcare and culture; fostering partnerships in the small and medium-sized business sectors, providing ideas for cultural, generational and gender connections and nurturing the rapidly growing relationship between Canada and India," sources said.

Focus on innovation, technology

The two-day gathering would focus on India's strides in economic development, innovation, science and technology, healthcare and tele-medicine and explore possibilities of collaboration with the diaspora and Canada.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India (ASSOCHAM) will hold a round-table on business opportunities in India.

Canadian Governor General David Johston, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and prominent Indo-Canadians, including Indo- Canada Chamber of Commerce President, Vinay Nagpal,;
Scotiabank vice chairman Sabi Marwah and Fairfax Holdings chairman Prem Watsa, are also scheduled to address the gathering.