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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper have identified education as a 'key area' for bilateral engagement, with the two leaders recognising that India is a 'priority country' under the North American nation's International Education Strategy.

In the joint statement released by the two leaders, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper agreed to focus on greater student, faculty and people-to-people exchanges, affirming that cooperation in education should focus on building the quality of human resources in both countries.

The two leaders welcomed Canada's partnership in the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) of India to enable Canadian researchers to cooperate in learning, research and teaching in select Indian educational institutions. They also welcomed the first co-funded student exchange programme through the Ministry of Human Resource Development's Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme and Canada's Mitacs Globalink Program.

Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper also noted the socio-economic opportunities inherent in India's ambitious goals of skills development and welcomed the MoUs between the Indian National Skill Development Council and 13 Canadian colleges, institutes, and Sector Skills Councils in the fields of agriculture, apparel and textiles, automotive, aviation, construction, green economy, healthcare, hydrocarbons, IT, telecom and electronics, sports sector, and water.

The two leaders also agreed to renew the Canada-India MoU on Higher Education on a rolling basis.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister met Canadian Governor General David Johnston, before holding a tete-a-tete with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.

He also attended a ceremonial reception before being accorded a guard of honour.

Addressing the press, Prime Minister Modi later said that the agreement between the two countries on the procurement of uranium from Canada for India's civilian nuclear power plants launches a new era of bilateral cooperation.

Prime Minister Modi's trip to Canada is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 42 years.

Prime Minister Modi arrived here after concluding a successful visit to France and Germany.

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