Toronto: Canada's new High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel is an Indo-Canadian, one who was born in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state of Gujarat and speaks Gujarati at home.
Patel is barely 44. His appointment was announced Friday by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and International Trade Minister Ed Fast.
Patel's appointment follows the appointment of Richard Rahul Verma, an Indian American, as the country's next ambassador to India.
"We are pleased to announce the appointment of Nadir Patel as Canada's new High Commissioner in the Republic of India," said the two ministers. "Patel brings a wealth of experience and will strengthen even further the Canada-India relationship, including on bilateral trade and international security."
Parliamentary Secretary to Baird, another Indo-Canadian Deepak Obhrai is also with the two ministers, all on board Air Canada that's heading to India.
"I am delighted Nadir Patel is our new high commissioner," Obhrai said. "He will join other distinguished Canadians who have had a strong hand in strengthening our relations with India, especially when my government has put relations with India as a priority.
"I am looking forward to working with him."
Patel was born in Gujarat. He was rather young when his parents decided to emigrate to Canada. Patel went to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo (Ontario) where he finished his under-graduate in 1993 with political science as his major subject. After graduating, he joined the Federal Public Service and one after another he kept on incessantly moving in the rank.
Till three years back, Patel was Canada's consul-general in Shanghai. On returning to Ottawa, he became assistant deputy minister for corporate planning, finance and information technology, and chief financial officer at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
In the meantime, Patel also finished his MBA from New York University and London School of Economics and Political Science and HEC Paris in 2009.
While the two federal ministers, along with Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai, will introduce their new High Commissioner at the highest levels of government, their hands would also be full discussing with their Indian counterparts the question of security and trade.
Minister Fast will continue on his course, starting Oct 12 leading a 17-man trade delegation and will visit Mumbai and Chandigarh. "This will be the third business delegation I am leading to India," Fast said sitting on the 24th floor of the Sun Life Financial, in the heart of downtown Toronto.
The current bilateral trade is $6-billion which's a far cry from what the two prime ministers in their summit in New Delhi in November 2009 pledged - $15 billion by 2015.
"The key to increased investment and trade is the singing of the Foreign Investment Protection Agreement," said Fast.
It was in fact supposed to have been signed last year, certainly early this year when Fast met his then Indian counterpart, then Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in New York.
"But suddenly something happened and that hasn't been explained to us and the fact is FIPA hasn't been signed."
He's optimistic under leadership of pro-business Prime Minister Narendra Modi the file on foreign trade and investment would move quickly up the bureaucratic ladder on to the prime minister's table.