Quebec’s Minister of International Relations Christine St-Pierre, who is now visiting India, held talks with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and discussed, among other issues, development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and electrification of transportation.
“During my mission to India, I want to establish ties with your country. I met the Chief Minister yesterday night and discussed different priority matters with him. He will be coming to Montreal in June and meanwhile a working group has been put in place to ensure that we will work towards an agreement between the state and our province,” St-Pierre said on Tuesday.
She also met students from SNDT college. With Montreal being nominated as the best city for students in the world last year, St-Pierre said students from India are welcome to study there. She said currently, 53,000 Indians live in Quebec but there are only around 1,300 Indian students in her country. “We have five scholarship programmes for Indian students and not many apply for it. Our university is in the top five universities in the world,” she said.
She said Canada – where Hydro-Québec is the fourth largest hydro-power producer in the world – wants to move towards electrification of transportation. “99 per cent of our electricity is clean energy. As we work towards our climate change goal, we need to work on our transportation. With regard to electric vehicles we want to work together with India and exchange our expertise,” she said.
Quebec is chasing a target of reducing 20 per cent greenhouse gas emissions compared to their 1990 levels by 2020 in their fight against climate change. Some scientists from the country are accompanying the minister. They will be sharing their research on climate change with Indian scientists in Delhi on Thursday.
“We do not want to impose our vision of climate change and instead would prefer to be partners. Climate change effects have been frightening. Last year, Quebec witnessed floods and we had never experienced something like this before. France last week had a snow storm. We want to work on our policy and show the world it is possible to work on it,” said St-Pierre.
She also highlighted the scope for boosting tourist flow to India from Quebec. “There is a lot of potential for tourism in India as people in Quebec are very curious about India. India needs to portray its quality of food, hotels and heritage. It is your asset. I saw the Taj hotel yesterday and it is so beautiful,” she said.
To increase Indian tourists flying to Quebec, she suggested that direct flights be operated between Indian cities and Quebec. “If there were direct flights from Mumbai or Delhi to Quebec we would have more tourists coming from India. Last year, direct flights were started between Beijing and Shanghai to Quebec and we have seen a surge in tourists. But this is in the hands of Air Canada and they will decide to operate flights based on viability,” she said.
During her visit, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) also signed a cooperation agreement with Mundra Port in Gujarat, India’s largest commercial port. The agreement aims to promote sharing of information on marine operations and develop cooperation in marketing and business development.